Trend Report USA: Historically high demand for plastics

Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

The SPI, the Plastics Industry Trade Association, released its annual Global Business Trends report at The Global Plastics Summit 2016 in Chicago. The report analyzes trade data from the year 2015 and gives a positive view on the US plastics industry.

With a worth of $295.4 billion the consumption of plastics reached a historic high in the USA.
With a worth of $295.4 billion the consumption of plastics reached a historic high in the USA.
(Bild: Pixabay)

The U.S. plastics industry’s trade balance fell to $7.1 billion in 2015, a decrease due to a growing American economy that relied on domestic production more than it has in the past. The consumption of plastics in the US actually increased to $295.4 billion in 2015, a historic high. As a whole, the US plastics industry’s trade surplus stands in stark contrast to American manufacturing as a whole and many individual manufacturing segments, which have posted deficits.

The largest export markets of the US plastic industry remain Mexico and Canada with $15.8 billion to Mexico and $12.1 billion to Canada in 2015. The NAFTA trade area represents 47.2 percent of the $59.1 billion of goods exported by the U.S. plastics industry in 2015. The largest trade surplus was that with Mexico ($11.0 billion).

The dollar value of the industry’s trade surplus in raw plastic materials (resins) declined in 2015, but on a real tonnage basis, the resin surplus increased 2.7 percent over 2014.

“A declining trade balance in this case is the sign of a growing U.S. economy. A stronger dollar makes sales more costly for buyers abroad and a decline in natural gas and oil prices have put downward pressure on the price of plastic materials,” said SPI President and CEO William Carteaux. “The 2016 Global Trends Report highlights growth in the U.S. plastics industry and shows its continued leadership in helping to make America the world’s leading manufacturing market.”

In addition to industry-wide and sector-specific trade data, this year’s Global Business Trends report also offers “Key Insights and Commentary,” as well as a set of recommendations to policymakers on how they can encourage continued strength in the US plastics industry, specifically by supporting free trade agreements (FTAs) like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and continued investment in America’s shale gas resources, which help give American plastics producers a global competitive advantage.

“While plastic materials, referred to in the plastics industry as ‘resins,’ overwhelmingly account for the U.S. plastics industry’s global trade surplus, it’s important to note that in the countries with which the US has an FTA, the U.S. plastics industry enjoys a trade surplus in plastics products, as well as in resins,” said SPI’s Vice President of International Affairs and Trade Michael Taylor. “Strong FTAs support the growth of ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ manufacturing on products consumers use every day around the world.”