All roads led to Dhaka for the top plastic, packaging and printing goods and equipment makers from home and abroad yesterday, when a four-day grand fair kicked off.
More than 260 manufacturers from 16 countries including Bangladesh set up shops at the 10th Dhaka International Plastic, Packaging, and Printing Industrial Fair, organised by Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA) and Chan Chao International Company Ltd, Taiwan.
One such exhibitor is Polycell, which came all the way from Korea to popularise its plastic foam machine, said Soony Park, an assistant manager of the company.
The fair offers a chance to meet local as well as foreign buyers, said Atiqur Rahman, a manager at Padma Group of Converters, which is showing products mostly used in the pharmaceutical industry.
To make the best of the opportunity, Bengal Group of Industries, one of the top plastic goods producers in the country, has kept with a dedicated corner for its export-oriented household and industrial products.
RFL, which exports to 36 countries, had a number of foreigners at its stall when the correspondent dropped by.
So popular were its household products that the company finished half of its allotted stock for the fair on the first day alone, said Nayem Noman, the stall in-charge.
Artisan Craft (BD) Ltd is another company participating in the fair, hoping to cement its reputation as a quality manufacturer of cooling machine systems.
Despite being the only local manufacturer of industrial cooling system, it still has to fend off stiff competition, said its Managing Director Shahed Hassan.
“We operate in an environment where many believe that the local products are not of good quality. But that is not true — we are producing quality products.”
Hatim Polymer Ltd, which exports household products to eastern India, is using the fair to launch its new CPVC pipes, said its Zonal Manager Habibur Rahman.
The local plastic industry has the potential to become a major foreign currency earner after the garment industry, according to analysts.
Subsequently, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said in his inauguration speech that the government would leave no stone unturned for the sector to hit the $1 billion-mark in exports by 2021.
Last fiscal year, the industry raked in $85.78 million, up from $84.51 million in fiscal 2012-13.
Other than providing cash incentives for export of plastic products, the government would also set up an industrial park for the industry, the minister said.
Jasim Uddin, president of BPGMEA, and Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, also spoke.
The fair, which is being held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, is open to visitors from 12pm to 8pm. Entry to the fair is free of charge.
At present, plastic products worth Tk 20,000 crore are produced and marketed locally per year, according to BPGMEA.