Exports of plastic products are expected to increase by 11-13.5 percent, reaching 2.2 billion USD in turnover this year, according to the Vietnam Plastic Association (VPA).

The country earned more than 1 billion USD from plastic exports in the first half of the year, up 9.3 percent from the same period last year.

Japan was the largest importer, accounting for more than 22 percent of the country’s total plastic exports, followed by the US , Cambodia and the EU.

In addition, India has emerged as a potential market for Vietnamese plastic products as its demand from the Indian industry increased, according to the association.

The association also forecasts that plastic exports to Japan, the US , China , India , Thailand and Malaysia will continue to rise.

Experts agreed that the domestic plastic industry will develop well, as locally made products have improved in quality, adding that increase global demand has also provided opportunities to expand markets.

However, despite higher demand, the domestic plastic industry still faces many difficulties such as lack of sufficient raw materials, high input costs and poor production technology.

VPA General Secretary Huynh Thi My said the plastic industry needs 2.2 million tonnes of raw materials each year, but the local market only supplies 450.000 tonnes.

In the first half of the year, the country spent 2.7 billion USD on imported raw materials to produce plastic, a year-on-year rise of 20.3 percent.

Qualified human resources are another problem facing the industry, according to the VPA.

The plastic industry, which targets export revenues of 7 billion USD by 2020, plan to produce more high-quality and environmentally friendly products with a diverse range of models.

In addition, it also plans to reduce production of packaging and household plastic products and increase production of technical plastics and plastic products for construction.

To achieve the targets, the industry will focus more on developing raw material sources and will invest in new equipment and technology.

Plastic exports topped 1.98 billion USD last year, up 42.2 percent over 2011.-VNA