U.S. Plastics Industry Trade Improves in 2021 After 2020 Pandemic Slump

For those around the world interested in the American plastics market, theglobal trends report and its accompanying dataset provides a comprehensiveaccount of U.S. plastics exports to and imports from around the world ineach of the four categories of the plastics industry – resin, products,machinery and molds.

According to the report, Mexico and Canada remained the U.S. plasticsindustry’s largest export markets. In 2020, the industry exported $13.7billion to Mexico and $11.7 billion to Canada, maintaining its largesttrade surplus—$8.2 billion—with Mexico.

The 2021 Global Trends report shows that the U.S. plastics industryremains a major player in world trade, due to the versatility of thematerial and high demand for it,” **said PLASTICS President and CEO TonyRadoszewski. **“Exports generate jobs, and the U.S. plastics industrycontinues to create jobs for the U.S. economy. For the fourth year, ourGlobal Plastics Ranking**TM** also provides insights for plastics companiesexploring export market opportunities.”*

The coronavirus pandemic caused the merchandise trade to decline. In 2020,total U.S. plastics industry exports fell 8.2%, and imports were 1.8% above2019.

The report found that the U.S. plastics industry had a trade deficit of$5.5 billion last year. For many years, the plastics industry enjoyed atrade surplus, which in 2019 was $727 million. Last year, the U.S. had an$18.6 billion surplus in resin. The U.S. plastics industry had a $15.3billion deficit with China—the third-largest export market of the U.S.plastics industry. However, the U.S. had a $3.0 billion trade surplus withChina with resin. China is still the world’s largest resin buyer and alarge importer of U.S.-produced resins.

The *2021 Global Trends* report also explores a broader international viewof plastics, covering production, consumption and more details of importanttrading partners for the U.S. It also discusses apparent consumption, abroad measure of the domestic market size. U.S. apparent consumption ofplastic products fell marginally by 0.1% to $288.4 billion in 2020.

Although the merchandise trade outlook is much brighter this year,uncertainties remain and depend largely on global economic recovery. Whilethe U.S. plastics industry trade volume rose 27.9% in the first six monthsof 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, it still has a plastics tradedeficit,” **said PLASTICS Chief Economist Perc Pineda, PhD** “The large andgrowing plastics industry outside the U.S. will continue to compete withthe U.S. for overseas markets as well as for their own domestic markets.” *

Canada and Mexico will continue to be the two largest export markets andare also the top sources of U.S. plastics imports. Proximity matters. Themanufacturing sector’s supply chain in these countries was strengthenedwith the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Theupdated free trade pact, United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA),should further enhance trade among the three countries, which is importantparticularly as global manufacturing is experiencing supply chaindifficulties

The 2021 complete *Global Trends* report is available to download for freefor members and is available for purchase to non-members *here*

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About Plastics Industry Association

The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) is the only organization thatsupports the entire plastics supply chain, representing nearly one millionworkers in the $432 billion U.S. industry. Since 1937, PLASTICS has beenworking to make its members and the industry more globally competitivewhile advancing recycling and sustainability. To learn more aboutPLASTICS’ education initiatives, industry-leading insights and events,networking opportunities and policy advocacy and the largest plastics tradeshow in the Americas, *NPE: The Plastics Show*

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