Pakistan achieved increase in plastic items exports

ISLAMABAD: The exports of plastic items marked an increase of 7.22 percent during the eight month of current financial year as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Pakistan exported plastic worth $209.534 million during July-February (2020-21), compared to $195.421 million during July-February (2019-20), showing growth of 7.22 percent.

In 2019 Pakistan was on No 58 among the plastic item exporting countries and was exporting plastic items worth 40,632,000 US$ and India was ranked 27 and its exports were worth 638,496,000 US$.

According to PBS data, in terms of quantity, the exports of plastic also rose by 19.23 percent as the country exported 218,384 metric ton of plastic during the period under review, while the exports of 183,165 metric ton were during last fiscal year.

The experts say, Pakistan possesses a narrow petrochemical base producing limited number of polymers including Polystyrene (PS), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and Urea/Melamine Formaldehyde.

A State Bank of Pakistan report said, Pakistan has now started exporting PVC, PET resin and Polystyrene on a limited scale to Turkey, UAE, Italy, South Africa and Iran. Total exports of these three polymers stood at USD 176 million. Table below depicts leading plastic resins manufacturers covering their products and production capacities:

The major key players of „Plastic Products‟ sector Engi Plastic Industries, Mughal Plastic Industries, Engro Asahi Polymer and Chemicals Limited and Lucky Plastic Industry.

SBP research report said, plastics raw material production in Pakistan is at low scale and does not meet the required demand. Presently, the total combined annual production capacity of four leading plastic resins producers stands at a little over 0.5 million tons while Pakistan total imports of all plastics raw material, as per Trade Map data, reached 0.525 million tons valuing USD 913 million in 2009.

Pakistan was meeting its entire plastics raw material needs through imports till 1994. Pakistan has now started exporting PVC, PET resin and Polystyrene on a limited scale to Turkey, UAE, Italy, South Africa and Iran. Total exports of these three polymers stood at USD 176 million.

The raw material of plastic industry is a product of crude oil called Naphtha and therefore is directly related to the prices of crude oil, the research added.

Experts say, raw material production in Pakistan is extremely low and does not meet the required demand which results in import of raw material mostly from countries like UAE and far eastern countries, while special grade raw material is imported from Germany and USA.

Further penetration of cheap Chinese products into Pakistan has made the competitive situation in the country. Local manufacturers have to import raw material.

Further with Chinese products available in the market in large variety and at affordable rates, survival has become challenging for the local industry, told local manufacturer.