Saturday

13th Aug 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"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.

Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey

The Swedish government has agreed to extradite a Turkish citizen with Kurdish roots wanted for credit card fraud to Turkey, amid the backdrop of Turkey's Nato threat.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

A possible deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact is within reach, says the European Union. Washington backs the final proposals, but Tehran remains cautious.

Opinion

Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy

The Belgian parliament's recent decision to ratify its prisoner-exchange treaty with Iran is a grave mistake, and one which exemplifies the many downfalls of dealing with Iran's human-rights abuses on a case-by-case basis.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us