China’s Ban on Plastic Bags Likely to Impact Imports of Polymers and Exports of PE Bags

By the end of 2020, China will ban plastic bags in major cities and, by 2022, country-wide. China is the world’s largest importer of the polyethylene used to manufacture bags, in addition to producing large volumes of polyethylene domestically. China exports large volumes of polyethylene bags.

Through November, 2019, China imported 8 million tons of LDPE/LLDPE, in addition to producing large volumes domestically. Imports would likely be reduced not only because some of that volume is used to make bags but also because more production in China would be available for uses other than bags.

China exported nearly 1 million tons of polyethylene bags through November, down 12% mainly because of tariffs imposed by the US in September, 2018. The ban on domestic bag use would put pressure on Chinese bag producers to find other markets, but the potential for this is limited because trading partners are also banning bags in their own countries.

From International Trader Publications’: Polyethylene Bags and Sacks World Trade Report, a continuously updated online report analyzing global trade.