Mexico City — Ranganath Shastri, made a Society of Plastics Engineers fellow in 2003 in recognition of his contribution to product design and development, was impressed by the large crowds at Plastimagen 2019 in Mexico City, but disappointed by the technology on display.
"There is nothing or very little new on display," he told Plastics News on April 3. And as for the business being done or not being done, he said: "There is so much uncertainty about the new [Andrés Manuel López Obrador] government at the moment.
He said the industry was in the dark about whether the government would support the plastics industry.
"We hope that before his [López Obrador's] term is over there will be some initiatives to support the industry. ... But no one knows what the new government's commitment to the industry will be.
"We hope there will be support but I don't know when that will come. It may be next year."
Shastri, a consultant who runs his own company, Expert Plastics Solutions de México S.A. de C.V. in Toluca, added: "I have seen very little technology on display [at Plastimagen]. Everybody is on a waiting mold."
The situation was not helped, he added, by the uncertainty over when or even whether the new U.S., Canada, Mexico trade deal, signed by the three country's presidents and prime minister in late 2018, will be approved by all three country's legislators.
However, Ángel Oria, Polymat's founder, commented that "the exhibition is excellent. I believe it's the largest in the history of Plastimagen."
He added that Shastri's comments about the alleged lack of clarity by the Mexican government in economic matters "are not exactly right. The government is talking to many people within the industry."
He said the government is showing great interest in the opportunities presented by the circular economy "and in how the government can be involved."
The plastics industry, he said, "recognizes that we have a problem and that we have to find a solution in a competitive way, taking care of all the extremely important issues in the long term."
Oria founded Polymat in 1998 and is a former president of industry association Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico A.C.), which is based in Mexico City.
Rafael Blanco Vargas, another prominent figure in the Mexican plastics industry, also disagreed with Shastri's assessment of the technology being exhibited, telling Plastics News on April 5 that "all the major companies are here and nothing obsolete is on display."
"In previous shows there were only sales people to speak to on the stands. Now there are many technicians available," he added.
Blanco, a mechanical engineer by profession, heads a media company called Centro Empresarial del Plástico (CEP), formerly known as Instituto Mexicano del Plástico Industrial, which he launched in Mexico City in 1984.
CEP's activities include publishing, technical education, business consultancy, conference organizing and statistics gathering. The company publishes a unique encyclopedia on plastics which has been translated from Spanish into English and other languages. It is called the Enciclopedia del Plástico Siglo XXI.