Sunday

25th Feb 2018

Focus

China tops Europe in plastics production

  • Plastic bags are widely used in China (Photo: SpirosK)

China last year overtook Europe as the world's largest producer of plastics, with the eurozone slump continuing to deepen the divide, a recent study shows.

According to the report carried out on behalf of the industry's trade association, Plastics Europe, a two-percent cut in European plastics jobs and continued company closures meant that the old continent lost its pole position to China.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The European Union has traditionally been an important net exporter of plastics and plastic products. This trade balance grew by over 100 percent between 2000 and 2010, reaching a total trade surplus of €15.7 billion in 2010. Despite a shrinking workforce and losing the number-one production position to China, the European plastics industry continues to be a key contributor to EU trade surplus," the report reads.

Europe accounted for 57 million tonnes (22 percent) of the global consumption last year, while China claimed 23.5 percent of the world production of plastics. But the Asian country also continued to import plastic raw material from Europe.

In a positive development, the amount of recycled and recovered plastics in 2010 increased by an average 9.3 percent year on year across the 27 EU countries, Norway and Switzerland. This figure is equal to 58 percent of all used plastics.

"The recycled quantity increased by 8.7 percent thanks to stronger activity from citizens, packaging collection schemes and recycling companies," the report notes, adding that the use of plastics in energy recovery also increased by almost ten percent.

One of the most dreaded plastic products for the environment - the ubiquitous plastic bag - is far from being on the decrease and the EU is now reviewing whether it should lift dumping restrictions on Chinese and Thai exporters. The measure was imposed in 2006 in order to protect European plastic bag producers such as France's Groupe Barbier and Spain's Plasbel.

When imposing the anti-dumping duties five years ago, the EU said Chinese and Thai exporters increased their combined share of the EU plastic-bag market to 18 percent in the 12 months through March 2005 from 14 percent in 2001.

Plastic bags from China face EU tax

EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson is set to place tariffs on plastic bags from China and Thailand, following complaints from European industry.

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table