(PTAs) specifically from China and other South-Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations is threatening survival of over 55,000 plastic processing units and livelihood of over 40 lakh workers, apex industry body Assocham said. “The major cause has been the decision taken by the government in May this year to increase customs duty on major raw material plastic granules from five to 7.5 per cent whereas import of finished products continues at zero or concessional duty,” said Assocham. “Many of the units have reportedly been closed down and many more are on the verge of closure, while surviving units are operating at less than 70 per cent of their installed capacity as the sector is witnessing negative growth trends,” said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of Assocham. To safeguard growth of plastics processing sector, Assocham has suggested the government that anti-dumping duty or safeguarding duty should be imposed on import of cheap plastic finished products from China and other neighbouring countries. Besides, considering that levy of entry tax by state governments, local body tax, octroi and others on plastics granules, plant and machinery, moulds for use by plastic industry is unduly making local plastics processing industry unviable and uncompetitive, Assocham has suggested to abolish any such tax or other levies. Recommending certain immediate steps to boost the plastic industry, Assocham has suggested the government to roll back customs duty from 7.5 per cent to five per cent on plastic raw materials like PP, PE, PVC, polystyrene and others. Besides, minimum gap of customs duty between plastics granules and finished products should always be maintained at 7.5 per cent. Assocham has also suggested for abolition of anti-dumping duty on imported PVC materials and other plastics granules from other companies and countries. Customs duty of 15 per cent should be applicable on imports of finished products from all countries.