The country's plastics industry is expected to achieve an export turnover of 1.3 billion USD this year, an increase of 30 percent on last year.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade's Industry and Trade Information Centre (VITIC) said this is possible because in the first eight months of the year, the industry had already earned more than 840.7 million USD from exports, 28 percent higher than for the same period last year.

Of the total, plastic packing, including bags and products used for transport, ranked first, amounting to 36 percent. The items were exported mainly to Japan , German, England , the US and Cambodia .

Household plastic products accounted for another 20 percent with big markets in Indonesia , the US , Germany , Cambodia and Japan .

VITIC said exports are expected to sharply increase in the last few months of the year.

The centre also forecast that Japan could become the biggest potential importer as its yearly demand for plastic products would reach 8 billion USD.

Much of this involves industrial plastics for installing electricity systems following the disastrous earthquake and tsunami.

This year, it is expected that in the first nine months of the year, export turnover to Japan will be only 211 million USD, but this is 18 percent higher than for the same period last year.

Japan is now the largest importer of Vietnamese plastic products, followed by the US .

According to the Vietnam Trade Office in the UK , demands for plastic household appliances, outdoor furniture and ornamental plants has been large.

Vietnamese plastic pipeline products have been selling well in the European Union. Export turnover is expected to reach 272 million USD in the period.

In South-east Asia countries, where production requirements are not as strict as in other regions, export turnover is predicted to hit 239 million USD in the first three quarters of the year, an increase of 40 percent over the same period last year.

While plastic products have seen high growth rate, there has been a general lack of competitiveness as the industry has to import up to 80 percent of input as well as equipment for production.

An information shortage among export businesses often led them to sell products at prices lower than necessary.

The VITIC said domestic enterprises should focus on specific items to ensure healthy competitiveness.

They should also concentrate on establishing the recycled plastic industry and in producing high value-added products used in construction and health sectors. /.