The US imports large volumes of PET, but exports have been declining for several years. The US imported 464,000 tons of bottle grade PET in 2013, down 2% from 2012. Canada, Mexico, China and India were leading suppliers. Imports of PET other than bottle grade have been trending higher for the last two years, and US imports in 2013 totaled 258,000 tons, up 36% from 2012. Mexico, South Korea and Oman were top suppliers, noting a large percentage increase on imports from Oman.
US exports of PET (combined bottle grade and other) peaked in 2009/2010, shipments roughly around 400,000 tons per year. In 2013, exports were down to 273,000 tons, off 19% from 2012, on lower volumes to Canada and many countries in Latin America and other regions. Increased competition from China in those regions was one factor in the decline.
China is the world’s largest PET exporter. During mid-2013, China’s exports soared to new record highs month after month. Although shipments slowed toward year end, exports for 2013 totaled just under 2 million tons, an increase of 43% from 2012. Polymer was shipped to every world region, with the highest volumes outside Asia-Pacific going to Eastern Europe and Latin America.