Implement quality control order for finished products before raw materials: plastics processor to BIS

Fearing the closure of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), plastics processors have urged the government to put in place a quality control regime on finished products before enforcing it on raw materials.

“First of all, BIS standards should be made mandatory for finished plastic products that are imported in large quantities and of poor quality,” said Mahendra Sanghvi, President of the Organization of Plastics Processors of India (OPPI), in a letter to the ministry for chemicals and fertilizers.

The problem arose after the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) quality control agency issued a notice in April this year urging polymer manufacturers and their users to adhere to the quality specification standards required by the Quality Control Ordinance. The BIS gave the industry six months from October 12, 2021 to meet its quality specifications.

According to this quality control regulation, all manufacturers and consumers must register with BIS and take all necessary measures to comply with the guidelines of the quality standard. In addition, BIS has set its quality standard for a wide range of ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers.

“The implementation of quality standards for raw materials does not offer a holistic solution to reduce the import of cheap quality finished products into the country. On the contrary, lengthy compliance requirements (e.g. the printing of identification codes on small packaging units) will affect the domestic availability of raw materials (e.g. secondly, the desired quality of a plastic-processed product depends not only on one raw material, but also on several Factors including the quality of the additives used and manufacturing processes, ”said Sanghvi.

Plastics processors, while recognizing the government’s intent behind introducing quality standards for a wide range of products, including polyethylene, questioned the timing of their introduction.

“If the current quality standard is implemented at this point, it will cause significant business disruptions in the industry, resulting in the closure of many plastics processing factories,” added Sanghvi.
As India’s chemical and petrochemical sectors continue to grow 1.2 to 1.5 times the national gross domestic product (GDP), the demand for petrochemical products will continue to outstrip domestic supply.

India will remain short of specialty polymers, at least in the near future. As a result, complex technical barriers could prevent global manufacturers from prioritizing supply to India.

“This would consequently disrupt access to vital raw materials used by the Indian health and pharmaceutical sectors fighting Covid-19 and export-critical sectors such as the automotive sector,” joked Sanghvi.

“Even the government doesn’t want these quality standards for polyethylene to have a negative impact on trade. The main goal of the government is to streamline the supply of high quality raw materials to avoid future environmental impacts, ”said Chintan Singhvi, owner of Luckystar International, a city-based polymer importer.

In order to avoid trade disruptions, OPPI has recommended that the government allow sufficient transition time and extend the introduction by at least one year. OPPI argued that the entire plastics industry was massively disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore plastics manufacturers needed more time to comply with the mandatory guidelines.

Import-oriented polymers should be excluded from quality control orders, as Indian manufacturers do not make some specialty polymers but use them for downstream products. India imports a wide variety of polymers to meet its growing needs.

DILIP KUMAR JHA
editor
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