El Salvador - Country Commercial Guide
Plastics

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-09-30

Overview 

 

 

 

2017  

2018 

2019  

2020 (est.) 

Total Exports 

 

 

$371,305,989 

$366,727,202 

$405,180,282 

$283,626,197 

Total Imports 

 

 

$736,879,471 

$789,108,867 

$795,281,051 

$636,224,840 

Imports from the U.S. 

 

 

$200,839,142 

$190,908,889 

$189,186,989 

$151,349,591 

Total Market Size 

 

 

$536,040,329 

$422,381,665 

$390,100,769 

$352,598,643 

Exchange rate 

 

 

U.S. Dollar 

U.S. Dollar 

U.S. Dollar 

U.S. Dollar 

 

Source: Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador. Note: No reliable source for local production.  

Although El Salvador lacks petroleum reserves, the country is the second largest supplier of plastics products in Central America after the U.S. which makes the plastics industry an important industrial sector in El Salvador. The plastics sector represents 2.8% of the manufacturing industry in El Salvador. The three largest areas of production are beverage bottles (23.7%), plastic bags (17.5%), plastic packaging (15.9%), plastic tableware (10.4%) and other plastics products (8.7%). El Salvador has become the Central American leader in exporting plastic bags, plastic beverage containers, and plastic packaging.   

The United States is the largest provider of plastics products and equipment to the Salvadoran market.  Main competitors of plastics machinery and equipment include: China, Guatemala, México, Canada, Colombia, Taiwan, and Brazil.  

 Salvadoran companies continue investing in new technologies and implementing new techniques to improve their productivity and efficiency in the plastics industry.  The most exported plastic products are plastic furniture (USD $13.8 million), polymers and other primary forms (USD $9.8 million), plastic brooms (USD $8.7 million) and plastic shoes (USD $5.5 million). The leading export markets for Salvadoran companies include Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. 

Top companies in the plastics industry are: Termoencogibles, S.A. DE C.V., Sigma Q, Carvajal Empaques El Salvador S.A. de C.V., Grupo Ravicorp, OPP Film El Salvador, S.A. de C.V., Smurkfit Kappa-Celpac, S.A. de C.V., Tubos y Perfiles Plásticos, S.A. de C.V., Salvaplastic, S.A. de C.V., Polybag, S.A. de C.V., and Iberplastic, S.A. de C.V.  

The sector expects it will be heavily impacted in 2020 due to both slowdown in manufacturing and exporting.  Some plastics manufacturing companies have also shifted production to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) such as: safety glasses, biohazard bags, disposable full-face shields, gowns, gloves, biosecurity footbath recipients, plastic hoods, and other products in high demand.  

Leading Sub-Sectors 

Leading equipment and materials in the plastics industry include resins, equipment for sacks and bags of ethylene polymers, polyethylene, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers, plastic tubes, pipes, plastic hoses, self-adhesive sheets, and thermoforming machines. 

The sector continuously needs to invest in updated machinery if they are to continue to see an increase in exports in the coming years. It is anticipated that equipment imports needed by the industry for their products will continue to grow.  

The Salvadoran Plastics Industry Association (ASIPLASTIC) with its Plastic Recycling Program “Eco Amigos” is committed to providing information to other companies on how to separate and recycle plastic and reconvert it into new products.  Equipment and technology for plastic residue and disposal has strong potential in the market. 

Opportunities 

El Salvador represents an opportunity for U.S. exporters of equipment and materials in the plastics industry, especially in the manufacture of energy efficient plastics processing machines that save time and minimize waste.  The use of bio-based plastic materials is growing in El Salvador and there is a niche for machinery that processes durable bio-based plastic products. 

On December 20th, 2019, the Integral Management of Waste and Promotion of Recycling Bill was approved by the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly. The implementation of this law allows recycling companies to operate and manage programs to reuse and recycle different types of waste in a responsible manner and promoting a circular economy. There will be opportunities for U.S. suppliers of plastics recycling and transforming products, grinders and shredding machines.  

 Following are additional opportunities for U.S. companies to meet Salvadoran potential buyers:  

  • NPE 2021-The Plastics Show – Orlando, Florida – May 17-21, 2021 

 Web Resources 

Salvadoran Industrial Association (ASI)  

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information 

Sandra Hernandez, Commercial Assistant, Sandra.hernandez@trade.gov