PARIS, France – Despite widespread alarm on the environmental cost, Asia and the United States lifted world production of plastic last year while Europe saw a dip, the PlasticsEurope federation said Tuesday, June 4.
Voicing concern over US imports, the federation noted global output rose by 3.2% last year to 359 million tons (Mt), on the heels of a 3.9% increase a year earlier.
Asia represented more than half of global production, with China alone churning out 108 Mt as it continues to boost capacity, in particular via coal conversion.
Asia as a whole nonetheless has a “structural deficit and is an importer” of plastics, Eric Quenet, PlasticsEurope’s regional director for Western Europe, told a new conference.
The United States is also producing more as a result of shale gas development. The US has developed ethanol-based production units that provide a competitive advantage over European counterparts, the federation said.
Given a worsening trade environment with China, US production is more present in European markets, Quenet observed, with US imports soaring by one-quarter last year.
“What we recorded in 2018 is continuing … as a consequence of the worsening of Sino-US trade links,” Quenet added.
“Our European market remains relatively open with customs duties still fairly moderate,” he said.
European production fell back last year by 4.3% while consumption crept up 0.4%. – Rappler.com