(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Egyptian plastic manufacturers are eyeing partnerships with their Jordanian peers to access the Kingdom's neighbouring markets.
At a press conference on Wednesday to talk about an international exhibition for plastic industries to be held in Amman between October 8-10, leading representatives of the industry in Egypt said they are exploring the possibility of establishing joint investments with Jordanian manufacturers to enter the markets of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
"We don't want to enter the Jordanian market as competitors to local producers but as partners," said Hamed Mousa, president of the Egyptian Plastic Exporters and Manufacturers Association (EPEMA), indicating that Egyptian industrialists will also work to have their products in Jordan replace plastic products which are not made in the Kingdom but imported from foreign countries, particularly Asia.
According to Mousa, there are a total of 3,000 plastic factories in the around 85-million population country, employing over half a million workers.
Khaled Abul Makarem, head of the plastics division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said the sector anticipates a 22 per cent annual growth, which makes it necessary to penetrate new markets.
"Our presence in Jordan will be strategic because the country is our gateway to Iraq and Syria," Abul Makarem said, indicating that the Egyptian businesspeople currently in the Kingdom have explored investment opportunities and are studying land prices and energy costs.
He pointed out that the value of plastic production in Egypt was around 10.6 billion last year, with exports at 1.3 billion.
"We need new markets because the Egyptian market is saturated," he added, noting that in the short term there will be some kinds of mergers and partnerships between Jordanian and Egyptian industrial establishments.
The Egyptian businessman told reporters that the petrochemical and polypropylene industries in Egypt are expected to attract investments valued at 12 billion in the coming two years.
Nearly 25 per cent of Egypt's plastic exports go to Turkey, Abul Makarem said.
Ghaleb Sughair, representative of the plastic sector at the Jordan Chamber of Industry, noted that the sector's exports in 2011 increased to JD80 million from JD65 million the year before.
"Egyptian investments in Jordan barely exist," Sughair said, encouraging Egyptian industrialists to open businesses in the Kingdom, as that will be their access to regional and international markets.
According to Khaldoun Nusair, chairman of Afaq Group, organiser of the International Jordan Plastic Exhibition, the expo will address challenges facing the industry in the Kingdom in addition to investment opportunities and ways to promote exports.
He said that over 100 companies are expected to participate in the three-day event, indicating that manufacturers from India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and France have confirmed their participation so far.
Nusair said the Egyptian pavilion will be the largest.