The commerce ministry has urged the plastic industry to formalise an export strategy to double its share in the overall merchandise exports, from less than 3 per cent at present.
Speaking on the sidelines of an exports award function here, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry joint secretary Shyamal Misra told PTI, "It (plastic exports) was less than 3 per cent of overall merchandise exports in FY18 and we need to work towards doubling this share."
Calling upon the industry to sit together and formalise an export strategy to take the plastic exports to the next level, he said, "Plastic exports have phenomenal potential and we need to enhance the presence in existing markets namely France, Japan, Germany and discover new markets such as Latin America, Africa, CIS and Asia."
Misra pointed out that the proportion of raw materials in exports is still very high and the industry should increase exports of value added products such as engineering plastics, bio-plastics and bio-polymers.
"We urge experienced captains of the industry to mentor new players and encourage them to excel. We hope plastics exporters help India become a USD 5-trillion economy," he said.
Maharashtra's industries and mining minister Subhash Desai, who was also present at the event, said the plastics industry has a big role to play in the economy, pointing out that the state government has taken several initiatives in research and development, technology and encouraging entrepreneurs.
"We have announced plans to develop 10 textile parks and five defence manufacturing facilities in the state. We are also actively considering a special cluster for plastics industry where common facility centres will be available to all types of plastic manufacturers and exporters for accessing these facilities," he said.
Desai also urged the industry to think of innovative ideas to recycle plastics.
Plastics are among the fastest growing industries in the country, experiencing a double-digit growth rate on an average, the Plastics Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL) chairman A K Basak said.
The industry is making significant contribution to the economic development and growth of various key sectors like automotive, construction, electronics, healthcare and FMCG, he said.
The US, China and the United Arab Emirates were top three destinations for the country's plastic products during 2017-18, together accounting for 25.7 per cent of the total plastic exports by value, he said.
"We are targeting an export value of USD 10.6 billion in 2018-19 and by 2025, we hope to increase India's share in the global plastics export market worth USD 850 billion to 3 per cent from the current size of less than 1 per cent," said Basak.