As Brazilian plastic processors work to serve a strong domestic market, Export Plastic wants to make sure they don't lose sight of opportunities available outside of the country.
Export Plastic is an 8-year-old program run by the São Paulo-based Brazilian Plastic Institute with assistance from the Brazilian government. The program now has 80 members working with it around the world, according to spokeswoman Iara Bentes.
“One of the big challenges is to bring an export culture to companies,” Bentes said at Brasilplast, held May 9-13 in São Paulo. “They think they're not ready to do it and that they don't have the structure. We can help with that.”
About half of Export Plastic's members are makers of housewares such as food containers, tableware and cutlery; the others produce flexible packaging film.
Export Plastic also works with its members to promote events outside the region. With this goal in mind, the group has attended numerous trade shows with Brazilian companies and products.
Exporting can be a hard sell to Brazil's plastics market, since it has always been a net importer of plastic products, with a trade gap of almost $1.4 billion in 2010. But Brazil still managed to export almost $1.5 billion of plastic products last year, with 30 percent of those exports going to Argentina and 12 percent to the U.S.
“We try to educate our companies so that they're prepared to face the world,” Bentes said. “We want to help them understand specific needs.
“Some start to export because the domestic market's not doing good, but then when it does get good, they stop exporting. We want them to think exporting is a continuous option.”