FHM HUMAYAN KABIR | January 05, 2023 00:00:00
Bangladeshi plastic products attain global attention with an export boom even during this global economic crisis, analysts say, and the industry has huge overseas market left to exploit.
Plastic-waste shipments to overseas market rebounded in the first half (H1) of the current fiscal year (FY) 2022-23, spurring an overall plastic-product- export growth of 41 per cent, an FE analysis finds.
Plastics export has not only maintained impressive growth, it has already surpassed the strategic target for the July-December period. According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), earnings from the shipment of plastic items stood at $100.17 million during the period.
In the same period last FY2022, the EPB data showed, the foreign-exchange receipt was $71.06 million.
Bangladesh produces around 150 types of plastic goods.
It exports goods like bags and sacks, film plastic, household items, toys, pet-flake and garment accessories to the USA, Canada, Europe, China, India and Nepal.
The country's share of plastics export as yet is nearly 0.3 per cent of a huge $570-billion global market.
The Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA) has set a target to boost its share to 3.0 per cent by 2030.
The local manufacturers export plastics after fulfilling nearly 80 per cent of the domestic demand.
Meanwhile, analysts said the growing shipment of plastic products added a new dimension to the trade with expanded room for export-market diversification.
According to industry sources, export earnings from plastics shipments are growing year on year.
BPGMEA president Shamim Ahmed told the FE that the plastic industry was expecting to cross $200-million mark in export earnings at the end of FY2023.
"The prices of our products globally have been enhanced in recent months. Although the global economic crisis amid the Russia-Ukraine war has affected our business, we're still hopeful of achieving the target."
Mr Ahmed says plastic-product export is actually higher than the EPB data as "we also supply our products to local garment, food-processing and other industries under back-to-back LCs for supporting export".
"If we add the deemed export of our plastic products, another $900 million worth of exports will be added to the foreign-exchange earnings," he adds.
A commerce ministry official says the total export of plastics at the end of FY2023 might cross $200 million.
"Although plastic products have a small share in foreign-trade basket, it has created a new hope for Bangladesh in export diversification after the single- product dependence on garments and textiles."
Nearly 80-percent export earnings for the country come from apparel and textile product shipments annually.
The current size of the global plastic market is huge-some $570 billion-and is growing at an average annual rate of 20 per cent, according to manufacturers.
The official concerned spoke about their target for $200 million worth of shipments in FY2023.
Despite a drop in plastic exports in FY2020 amid coronavirus, the FE analysis finds, export earnings rebounded just in FY2021 with higher growth.
According to the EPB, Bangladesh earned $119.8 million in FY2018, which fell to $100.5 million in FY2019. Shipments rebounded to $115.28 million in FY2020 and maintained a higher pace in FY2021 with earnings of $166.25 million, disclosed the EPB statistics.
The higher export pace was also maintained in FY2022 when the country's plastic products accounted for 44.22-percent expansion to $166.25 million.
The FE finds PVC bag as the highest exportable item as Bangladesh made shipments worth $16.66 million during the July-December period of the current fiscal.
Plastic wastes, including pet-flake and scarp plastic, have shown a bright light as its earning is also showing a growing trend with $11.09-million shipment in H1 of FY2023.
The BPGMEA president said they had an export target (along with deemed export) of $5.0 billion by 2030.
BPGMEA secretary-general Narayan Chandra Dey said RFL, Bengal, NM Poly, Akij, Desh, Padma and ACI are the key players in foreign trade with their plastic exports.
"Bags and sacks, readymade garment-allied products, toys and household products are the major items in the export basket," he added.