As part of the move, some of plastic goods exporters recently imported modernised technology to grab markets in the EU, North America, Oceania and Russia.
"Many buyers from our traditional markets are now demanding high-value products. They are eyeing Bangladesh instead of China for our competitive price ranges," said President of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA) Md Jashim Uddin.
He said they are now very serious about exporting high-priced products to different destinations of the world which could make the sector able to earn nearly $500 million in next three years.
"For searching quality products, many plastic goods importers and their allied traders visited some local factories. We got positive response from them", the BPGMEA president said.
Jashim Uddin, also Vice Chairman of Bengal Group of Industries, said the export value of a normal hanger (clip type) is $1.0 to $1.5 but the price would be five times higher if it turns to a high-value one.
He also admitted that the production cost would increase by 100 per cent if the factories make use of new machinery.
Former president of BPGMEA Shamim Ahmed said companies are going to make high-priced toys, hanger, tooth-brush, PVC pipe, computer accessories and wall clocks.
The buyers from new markets like Argentina, Brazil and South Africa are also showing their interest in our high-value products, he said.
He said for ensuring sustainable exports, they have taken move to diversify plastic goods to adapt with any critical situation.
Managing Director of F H International Ltd Ferdous Wahed said to make the move a success government policy supports including incentives for new market exploration, setting up of an industrial zone and an institution for the sector and ensuring smooth power supply are needed.
"With Chinese plastic manufacturers shifting their production base to low-cost Asian locations, Bangladesh remains an ideal choice, but poor infrastructure threatens to mar the prospects", Ferdous, also former president of BPGMEA, said.
"Foreign buyers prefer the destinations which offer various ranges of products and we do already have the advantage of that but just need to take few necessary initiatives," Ferdous added.
According to the BPGMEA, Bangladesh exports plastic products including shopping bags, butcher bags, PVC pipe, polyethylene sheets, ball-point pens, tooth brush, toys, hanger, hand gloves, artificial flowers, table covers, computer accessories, waste baskets and wall clocks.
The major destinations of local plastic products are Poland, China, Belgium, France, Germany, Canada, Spain, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia and Hong Kong.
At present, there are about 5,000 plastic industries in the country of which 3,500 are small and 1,500 medium-sized.
Of the plastic factories, 65 per cent are located in Dhaka while 20 per cent in Chittagong, 10 per cent in Narayanganj and 5 per cent in Khulna, Comilla, Bogra and Rajshahi.
Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data showed Bangladesh has exported plastic goods worth $70 million in the first ten months of the current fiscal year. The sector made shipment of nearly $89 million last fiscal year, according to the EPB.
Source: Daily "The Financial Express", Dhaka; 19 May 2013
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)