The Trade War and Polyolefin Film/Sheet; PE Bags/Sacks

US imports from China of PE and PP film/sheet are a relatively small factor in the global total. US imports of PE bags and sacks from China, however, are substantially larger. All of these products are involved in the US/China trade war.

On August 23, 2018, the US applied duties of 25% on imports from China of both PE and PP film/sheet. On September 24, duties of 10% were applied on imports of PE bags/sacks from China. Even if a trade deal is reached, it is likely that these duties will remain in effect for some time as a means of insuring compliance with whatever terms are negotiated.

Globally, 5.5 million tons of PE film/sheet were traded in 2018, up 3%. The US imported 463,000 tons, more than half from Canada. Imports from China were 63,000 tons, up 10% for the year despite slowing volume in the last quarter. Imports from Mexico were smaller but jumped 90%, to 27,000 tons.

Global trade in PP film/sheet was 3.3 million tons in 2018, also up 3%. The US imported 133,000 tons, with China supplying 89,000 tons, up 15% for the year. Volume also slowed in the last quarter.

Over 4.4 million tons of PE bags/sacks were traded in 2018, up 5%. The US imported 1.1 million tons, of which 382,000 tons, up 15%, came from China. Imports from China were fairly steady throughout the year, ranging 24,000 – 42,000 tons per month. Imports from Korea and India surged but supplies from Canada and Mexico were down.

From International Trader Publications 2018 Yearend editions of: the Polyethylene Film and Sheet World Trade Report; the Polypropylene Film and Sheet World Trade Report; and, the Polyethylene Bags, Sacks and Cones World Trade Report.