“Government should reduce the lead time for refunds to exporters” – Mr. Sribash Dasmohapatra, PLEXCONCIL

Mr. Sribash Dasmohapatra, PLEXCONCIL
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The Plastics Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL) represents the exporting community in the Indian Plastics industry. The export promotion strategies evolved since 1955, the year when PLEXCONCIL was born, have fetched rich dividends, which is exhibited in the form of high export growth rates. These achievements represent the dedicated efforts of PLEXCONCIL members who are always in the process of creating a niche for themselves in the world markets by virtue of their determination to achieve technological excellence, a sense of commitment to satisfy their customers’ requirements, and their inherent entrepreneurial qualities. The PLEXCONCIL on its part is committed to supporting the efforts of its members to achieve export excellence andClear cache service the overseas buyers to find appropriate trade partners in the Indian plastic industry. In its pursuit to achieve export excellence, various export promotional activities are undertaken by PLEXCONCIL. Mr. Sribash Dasmohapatra, Executive Director, PLEXCONCIL in a free-wheeling chat with Indian Economy & Market discusses various initiatives taken up by the organization.

The PLEXCONCIL is a very old organization. Please tell us the brief history?

The Plastics Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL) was established by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Department of Commerce, Government of India on 15th July 1955. It is a non-profit organisation registered under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 (or section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013). It was one of several Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) launched by the Government to project India’s image abroad as a reliable supplier of high-quality products in order to give a boost to the country’s exports. PLEXCONCIL is the apex body of the plastics industry in India and represents over 2,500 exporters who manufacture/trade-in plastics products ranging from plastics raw materials to semi-finished and finished items.

Products from the Indian plastics industry are exported to over 200 countries across the globe including top destinations like Italy, Germany, and United Kingdom in Europe; Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya in Africa; Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in South Asia; Vietnam and Indonesia in ASEAN; along with China and the United States of America.

There are a lot of disruptions happening in these critical times. Your take?

Plastics are a global success story. Global production of plastics has witnessed continuous growth for more than 60 years despite several disruptions. Plastics production has ramped up from 1.5 million tonnes in 1950 to 359 million tonnes in 2018 [PlasticsEurope Market Research Group (PEMRG)]. Global plastics production has on average increased by about 8.4% per year since 1950. In 2018, global plastics production grew by 3.2% compared to 2017.

In 2020-21, the global market witnessed several disruptions such as US-China trade face-off, COVID-19, new American President Election; realignment of the global supply chains and logistics patterns, new bilateral or trilateral or regional deals, BREXIT, ASEAN, etc. But plastics exports have been growing and will continue to grow. The industry is resilient and robust.

What is the current status of the sector you are representing? 

Today Global Plastics Export is around USD 1 trillion but India has ONLY 1.2% share in the global plastics exports market, lower than that of China, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. Over the last decade, India’s plastics exports have managed an annual growth rate of 7.6%. India’s plastics exports were valued at US$ 10.0 billion in 2019-20. Indian Plastics are shipped to 200+ countries.

The product panels that have grown over the last 5 years are Raw Materials & Polymers, Rigid Packaging & PET Preforms, Woven Sacks/ FIBCs, Consumer & Houseware, Fibre Reinforced Plastics (FRP) products, Pipes & Fittings, Polyester Films, Floor Coverings, Leathercloth & Laminates, Human Hair & Related Products, and Miscellaneous products. PLEXCONCIL has been working tirelessly with various stakeholders to boost the plastics exports from India and to make India a preferred global sourcing hub for plastics products.

Backed by strong government support-planned investment of USD 6.2 mn and 18 plastic parks being set up to boost domestic production, employment and achieve environmentally sustainable growth. PLEXCONCIL has mapped out 50 value-added plastic products in which India has a good standing and can easily expand its presence to other geographies. India has over 50,000 plastics processors (mostly MSMEs) that provide a livelihood to millions of people in the country.

“We have suggested the Government to reinstate GSP and sign an FTA with major export destinations particularly the United States, increase the rate of Drawback, simplify manufacturing and customs laws, improve the import clearance assessment systems and work towards improving the Ease of Doing Business in India.”

What are your demands from the government to be a part of its AtmaNirbhar project?

Plastics are perhaps one of the most versatile products and are being increasingly used in a wide range of applications. India is import-dependent on several plastic raw materials, particularly PVC, HDPE, LDPE, PP, etc. To become Atmanirbhar, we first need to build capacities in the country to meet the growing demand for these products so that plastics processors can buy the raw materials from within the country to make value-added plastics products for domestic consumption as well as for export.

Identified products for Atmanirbhar Bharat by PLEXCONCIL are PVC Films, Petrochemicals – Styrene Monomer, Maleic Anhydride, Propylene Glycol Titanium Dioxide, Plastic films Nylon High Tenacity UV Yarn. We request the Government to frame an attractive PLI scheme for boosting polymer production and becoming AtmaNirbhar.

Members of PLEXCONCIL are facing delayed refunds in terms of MEIS/ GST. What the PLEXCONCIL is doing in this regard?

PLEXCONCIL is of the view that the RoDTEP rates for plastics products should be fixed in line with MEIS rates. Indian processors are not at a level playing field when comparing our cost of production to those enjoyed by our competitors in the ASEAN region. For example, electricity is freely available in Power exchanges within India at around 3.50 Rs/KVaH whereas DISCOMs supply to the industry at 6.50 Rs/KVaH. Govt levies “cross-subsidy” on power supplied to the industry as it in turn supplies subsidised power to farmers.

India’s plastics are mainly exported to Europe (24%), North America (16%), and WANA region (14%). However, as India does not have any trade agreements with any of these regions/countries, our plastics exporters are unable to realize their full potential. If the Government can forge a trade agreement with these regions/countries, our plastics’ exporters would be able to increase exports as opportunities and recognition for Indian manufactured products in these regions is immense.

Members of PLEXCONCIL have suggested that the Government should reduce the lead time for refunds (MEIS / GST) for exporters, reinstate GSP and sign an FTA with major export destinations particularly the United States, increase the rate of Drawback, simplify manufacturing and customs laws, improve the import clearance assessment systems and work towards improving the Ease of Doing Business in India.

Any plan to undertake international trade fairs B2B exhibitions, seminars, in the very near future, or any other export promotional activities? 

PLEXCONCIL will host Plexconnect 2021 Virtual B2B (Buyer-Seller Meet) with importers and buyers from WANA region countries Oman, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia on 01-03 February 2021 with focus sectors being PET Preforms, Caps and Closures, Housewares, Plastics Pipes & Fittings, Plates, Sheets & Films, Packaging Items, Floor Coverings & Leather Cloth, Raw Materials including Masterbatches, Office & School Supplies, Moulded & Extruded Products and Writing Instruments amongst others.

The Council has undertaken strategy and tactics such as Cross – Border Trade Promotion MoU`s; Skill Development Programmes with leading Universities; Empanelment on District Export Promotion Committees; Organising Awareness Programmes; Connecting Global Buyers with Indian Exporters; Country & Product-Centric Export Strategies; Access to Trade Data & Market Intelligence; Assisting Trade & Financial Support to Enterprises; Disseminating Information through Social Media; Engaging with Industry through  Print & Digital Media.

PLEXCONCIL has been organising virtual Interactive Sessions, Seminars, etc., with the manufacturers/exporters / related associations & organisations along with the State Governments to create awareness and to provide necessary assistance to exporters/manufacturers. The PLEXCONCIL mobile app has been unveiled for plastic exporter members and the trade fraternity.

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IE&M Team
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