Thursday

29th Feb 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

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.

Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist

Hungary failed to get three Russian and three Chinese names deleted, as the EU approved its 13th package of sanctions ahead of an anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Opinion

The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse

With Alexei Navalny's funeral in Moscow on Friday, Vladimir Putin's regime haven't just insulted his mother and widow with their treatment of his corpse — they've breached international treaties and conventions.

Latest News

  1. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats
  2. EU won't yet commit funding UN agency in Gaza amid hunger
  3. EU Commission clears Poland's access to up to €137bn EU funds
  4. Right of Reply: The EU-ACP Samoa agreement
  5. The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse
  6. Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms
  7. Podcast: Hyperlocal meets supranational
  8. Von der Leyen appeals for 'new EU defence mindset'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us