MEXICO CITY (April 6, 12:35 p.m. ET) — Mexico's plastics industry association wants the four candidates in the July 1 presidential election there to consider adopting half a dozen measures aimed at improving the sector's growth prospects.
Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC) wants to see: fiscal incentives to encourage the development of recycling activities, cheaper electricity, greater funding of research and development for machinery makers, a review of import tariffs on raw materials and finished goods, and a stable currency.
Mexico imported almost 51,000 tons (46,200 tonnes) of plastic waste in 2011 and exported 487,400 tons (442,200 tonnes), according to Mexico City researcher Grupo Texne. Eduardo Martínez Hernández, Anipac's outgoing president, used the statistics March 3 when he addressed the recycling issue at a Mexico City news conference.
An inadequate network of companies able to collect, wash and dispose of waste in Mexico had made it more profitable for many companies to sell waste overseas rather than within the country, he said.
“With fiscal and economic incentives, this important segment of the plastics industry would receive a major boost.”
Referring to the price of energy, most of which was generated in Mexican thermoelectric plants, he said the cost of natural gas production had dropped from $16 per 1 million Btu to $2 per 1 million Btu over the past year. Yet, instead of electricity prices falling, they rose and put Mexico at a competitive disadvantage in relation to other countries.
As regards capital-goods development, Martínez said Mexican companies spend more than $1.6 billion a year importing machinery. “Mexican machinery manufacturers have been disappearing gradually,” he said. As far as he knew, he said, only a couple remain. “The absence of an industrial policy has held back development in this field.”
He said Mexico levies import duties on plastic resins but not on imported finished products, a situation that had harmed national processors.
“This is a complex problem because some countries with which Mexico has free trade agreements … do not levy the same duties on raw materials. As a result, they can acquire them at more competitive prices and then export finished products, duty-free, to Mexico.”
Such was the case with the U.S. and Canada through the North American Free Agreement, he added.
Martínez said manufacturers require a stable Mexican peso to allow for “the more efficient planning of their businesses.”
In the past five years, the value of the peso against the dollar has fluctuated between an average of 10.93 pesos per dollar in 2007, 11.16 pesos in 2008, 13.50 pesos in 2009, 12.63 pesos in 2010 and 12.44 pesos in 2011, according to www.forecast-chart.com.
“Given the fact that the raw materials purchased by plastic processors are quoted in foreign currencies, it's vital a stable exchange rate be maintained,” Martínez said.
The list of proposals had been sent to every one of the four candidates and their respective parties: Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI-PVEM), Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD y otros) y Gabriel Quadri (Nueva Alianza), he said.
“We haven't heard back from them. Either they're too busy or they don't care about the plastics industry.”
Martínez remarked that the association had tried to meet with Mexico President Felipe Calderón over the past two years to explain the industry's needs and had failed. His two-year term as Anipac president ends this month.