Wed October 31, 2018

Global Trends report shows U.S. plastics industry as thriving and an increase in demand for plastics worldwide

CHICAGO—October 31, 2018—The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) released its annual Global Trends report today at the 2018 Global Plastics Summit (GPS). The report, which analyzes trade data from 2017, paints a complex and ultimately positive portrait of the U.S. plastics industry.

For the first time, the report includes an exclusive ranking of every nation’s plastics industry, a tool that PLASTICS members can use to identify new markets and areas where U.S. plastics companies can meet the unique demands of both developed and developing countries.

“The 2018 Global Trends report again shows that the U.S. plastics industry continues to innovate its way into new applications and new markets where even more consumers can benefit from these versatile, lightweight materials and products,” said PLASTICS’ President & CEO William Carteaux. “This year we are releasing the Global Plastics Ranking which will help U.S. plastics companies—and particularly PLASTICS members—find new opportunities to export their goods and build new trade relationships abroad.”

Although the report found that the U.S. plastics industry trade surplus decreased nearly 40 percent in 2017—from $4.8 billion in 2016 to $2.9 billion in 2017—demand was up across the board. Apparent consumption of plastics industry goods increased in 2017 by 6.0 percent, a large increase that outpaced growth in U.S. plastics industry shipments overall. The decline in the plastics industry’s trade surplus was driven by a 9.3-percent increase in imports—another sign of strong demand in the United States.

“A shrinking trade surplus in this instance shows how in-demand the products and services of plastics are in the United States,” said PLASTICS’ Chief Economist Perc Pineda. “Our estimates show that in 2017 the plastics industry global trade volume increased 9.5 percent from 2016. Free and fair trade is enormously beneficial to the U.S. plastics industry, and thus enormously beneficial to the nearly one million workers it employs.”

The 2018 Global Trends report also showed that U.S. plastics companies exported $15.7 billion to Mexico and $12.5 billion to Canada in 2017, maintaining their largest trade surplus—$10.6 billion—with Mexico, as they had in 2016 as well. Despite the uncertainty of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2017, Mexico and Canada remained the U.S. plastics industry’s strongest trading partners.

The executive summary is available online here.

The full 2018 Global Trends report is available for free for members and is available for purchase to non-members here.  

About Plastics Industry Association

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), formerly SPI, is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, representing nearly one million workers in the $418 billion U.S. industry. Since 1937, PLASTICS has been working to make its members and the industry more globally competitive while advancing recycling and sustainability. To learn more about PLASTICS’ education initiatives, industry-leading insights and events, networking opportunities and policy advocacy, and North America’s largest plastics trade show, NPE: The Plastics Show, visit Connect with PLASTICS on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.