Global Trade Issues for Plastics Converters in Europe
"Some of our customer base will be manufacturing plastics products outside of Europe if we are not able to safeguard a sustainable European plastics industry here," says Alexandre Dangis, Managing Director of EuPC. "Plastic products are contributing a lot in terms of sustainability and our sector employs over 1.6 million persons in manufacturing in Europe."
However global trade issues on the use of raw materials & substances in the EU are of strategic importance for the plastics converting & compounding industry. We carefully watch and monitor developments on prices & availability of materials outside of the EU that can have a negative impact on our EU industries. "Currently we see tremendous pressure on raw material prices - particularly PP, PS & PVC. This pressure is being exerted on the plastics converter segment probably as a result of middle east oil volatility," says Dangis.
A latest very specific example is the one on TIO2 where unjustified discrepancies in pricing outside of Europe is putting at risk some European masterbatch producers and the value chain including the plastics converting community.
Raw material producers are more global players than plastics converters so strategic pricing issues for different regions in the world have been common practice. Our suppliers have to accept the difficult position of converters in Europe and do more to protect their customer base in the markets where it all started and where the plastics consumption per capita is still the highest in the world.
Trade opportunities also exist as EuPC is requesting the EU Institutions to work towards free trade agreements for raw materials taking out all possible import duties, an extra burden for EU plastics converters. There are important developments for the US and Gulf producers to ship more polymers to Europe in the near future.
"We will not hesitate to talk with the EU Commission's appropriate authorities on these matters in due time," said Dangis.
European Plastics Converters Aisbl
EuPC is the leading EU-level Trade Association, based in Brussels, representing European Plastics Converters. Its powerful European Plastics Network exists to support the beneficial use of plastics worldwide, especially providing plastics converting companies with a voice in European legislation. EuPC now totals about 51 European Plastics Converting national and European industry associations, it represents close to 50,000 companies, producing over 45 million tonnes of plastic products every year. The European plastics industry makes a significant contribution to the welfare in Europe by enabling innovation, creating quality of life to citizens and facilitating resource efficiency and climate protection. More than 1.6 million people are working in about 50,000 companies (mainly small and medium sized companies in the converting sector) to create a turnover in excess of 280 billion € per year.