Vietnam's plastics industry earned 2.2 billion USD in 2013, posting a 13 percent increase from the previous year.

The export turnover of plastic materials was 407 million USD, representing a rise of 25 percent and 57 percent from the previous year in terms of quantity and turnover, respectively, Customs newspaper quoted Ho Duc Lam, Chairman of the Vietnam Plastic Association, as saying.

Plastic material production requires the use of high technology, which generates higher-value exports compared with common plastic product exports.

Lam said the industry last year exported 20 plastic products to foreign markets; six of these products generated a turnover of more than 100 million USD each.

In particular, the exports of plastic bags, films and garbage bags generated a turnover of over 150 million USD last year.

Plastic bag exports posted an increase of 27 percent in 2013 over the previous year, while the growth in exports of plastic decorative products was 26.4 percent.

Vietnam's plastic products were shipped to 151 countries and territories, including high-demand markets, such as Japan, the United States, Germany and the European Union.

Japan is the country's largest importer of plastic products, importing goods worth 401 million USD and accounting for 20 percent of Vietnam's total plastic exports.

The association noted that Japan continues to hold immense potential demand for the industry's products.

Vietnam exported 20 varieties of plastic products to Japan; 15 of these products generated a turnover of more than 1 million USD each.

Lam urged Vietnamese plastic producers to prepare long-term strategies and invest in market research to increase their penetration of the Japanese market.

The US is the second largest consumer of Vietnam's plastic exports, accounting for 175 million USD, or 8.6 percent, of the total export turnover last year.

In 2013, plastic producers continued operations, despite facing tough economic challenges. The association forecast a growth rate of 13.5-16.5 percent for the industry this year because of the global economic downturn.

Lam added that domestic plastic producers are facing competition from other countries in the region.

Moreover, businesses need to focus on environmentally-friendly and safe products for sustainable growth in exports.

Last year, domestic plastic firms accounted for 45 percent of the country's total export turnover. The balance was accounted for by foreign-investor-led enterprises.-VNA