The new head of Mexico's plastics industry association is targeting Central and South America as export markets offering the greatest potential for growth for Mexican processors.
Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC) plans to send a trade delegation to Argentina in June in a bid to drum up more business.
“Probably we'll visit Ecuador on the same trip, while Brazil, of course, is a market with great potential,” said Anipac's new president, José del Cueto Gracia, at an April 19 news conference, two days after taking office.
Anipac statistics report that Mexico's exports of plastic products were $4.03 billion in 2011, of which 10.7 percent went to Central and South America. The biggest share was Guatemala at $77.1 million, then Colombia at $65.7 million, and Brazil at $48.8 million.
Del Cueto is promising an aggressive approach by Anipac in its dealings with whichever of the three main political parties wins July's presidential and legislature elections. “The important thing is that we are taken into account. We're prepared to work with whichever party is in power,” he said. “We're optimistic about the future.”
He supports all the measures proposed by previous Anipac President Eduardo Martínez Hernández in the group's dealings with government, including fiscal incentives to encourage 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.
Just weeks before leaving office, Hernández criticized the government for what he considered a lack of interest in the plastics sector and called on the state oil company Petróleos Mexicanos and the ministries of energy and economy to make “the development of the plastics sector, which potentially is so relevant to the country's economy, a priority.”
According to Del Cueto, the Mexican plastics industry generates sales of $20 billion a year and its 4,200 companies employ 165,000. It grew 5 percent in terms of sales last year and is expected to grow between 9-10 percent this year, he said. Packaging for consumer goods continues to be the most lucrative activity, representing 50 percent of the sector's sales, Del Cueto said.
Anipac will continue to strive to increase its membership of 280 companies, he said. The group claims membership rose from 2010-11.