Thailand's government has advised the country's $13 billion-a-year plastics industry, which accounted for 6 percent of gross domestic product in 2006, to create strategies and innovations to face a coming downturn.
Chakramon Phasukavanich, the ministry's permanent secretary, said the Thai plastics industry has been experiencing its ``golden years,'' blessed by strong demand from China
``However, good times will eventually come to an end, and we must brace ourselves to face the next downturn - but not without strategies and innovations,'' Phasukavanich said Oct. 17 in opening remarks to attendees at the three-day Flexpo 2007 conference in Bangkok.
Phasukavanich noted the new wave of industry investment, especially to satisfy the growing demand for plastics products, some of which will be produced for the first time in the country.
Plastics in Thailand also has grown stronger through mergers and acquisitions, but Phasukavanich said he wants to see more collaboration to achieve economies of scale.
Plastics, which has grown from humble beginnings in the 1980s, today supplies 15.9 billion pounds of olefins, polyolefins and elastomers annually. And, he noted, 24 percent of that volume is exported.
He called for the adoption of international best practices to improve and standardize work processes, which would raise the reputation of Thai-made products in global markets.
Phasukavanich also urged the industry to focus on research and development, lower manufacturing costs, improve energy efficiencies and take care of the environment. He also stressed the importance of product performance as a competitive factor.
Responding to environment-related concerns of local municipalities, he urged the industry to demonstrate corporate responsibility and maintain a proper balance between economic, social and environmental goals.