The U.S. plastics industry remains one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the U.S. – outpacing overall U.S. manufacturing – and its trade surplus continues to grow.
Speaking at a press conference at K 2013, William R. Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., cited 2012 statistics that support the strength of the U.S. plastics industry.
“While continuing U.S. political gridlock has plastics company leaders trying to make decisions in an uncertain business environment, our nation’s plastics industry has remained highly competitive by finding innovative solutions and efficiencies, as well as by expanding international reach to new markets,” Carteaux said. “In 2012, the value of goods shipped by our industry was more than US$373 billion, and plastics continue to better the rest of U.S. manufacturing in key growth rate areas.”
Export growth continues to be a significant boost for the U.S. plastics industry. In 2012, U.S. plastics exported goods valued at US$58.5 billion. “We anticipate this positive trend to continue over the next few years as recent free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, Panama and Russia become more fully exploited by U.S. companies,” Carteaux said. “In fact, our data for the first half of 2013 indicate that U.S. plastics industry exported goods were up 1.8 per cent from the same period in 2012. CEOs realize that 96 per cent of the world’s customers are outside of the United States, and SPI has responded this year by leading trade missions to Chile and Panama. We have future trade missions planned to introduce companies to markets in India, Vietnam, South Korea, and Turkey.”
The 2012 data released by SPI also indicated the following:
• Plastics is the third-largest U.S. manufacturing industry: In addition to shipping more than US$373 billion worth of goods, in 2012 the U.S. plastics industry employed 892 thousand workers at 15,949 facilities throughout every state, and invested US$9.6 billion in new capital equipment.
• Plastics is the fastest growing U.S. manufacturing sector: Between 1980 and 2012, U.S. plastics grew annually at rates of 0.1 per cent in employment (versus -1.4 per cent for all manufacturing), 2.3 per cent in real shipments (versus 0.3 per cent), 2.2 per cent in real value added (versus 0.7 per cent) and 2.2 per cent in productivity (versus 1.7 per cent).
• Mexico is the U.S. plastics industry’s largest export market: In 2012, the industry exported US$13.6 billion to Mexico and US$12.5 billion to Canada. The U.S. plastics industry had a US$7.8 billion trade deficit with China in 2012.
• The U.S. has a positive trade balance of US$13.1 billion: In 2012, the U.S. plastics industry exported goods valued at US$58.5 billion (down 0.1 per cent from 2011).