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Asian share of North American bag market hits 30% (September 08, 2003)

Asian manufacturers of polyethylene bags have captured 30% of the North American market in little over 18 months, a...


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September 8, 2003 by Canadian Plastics

Asian manufacturers of polyethylene bags have captured 30% of the North American market in little over 18 months, according to PCL Packaging Corporation chairman and CEO Bill Swinimer. The surge in cheap imported bags roughly coincides with China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, and has resulted in the filing of an unfair trade practices petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission.
“The retail T-shirt bag and grocery bag market has been devastated by cheap imports,” says Swinimer. “A lot of companies have gone out of business.”
The petition with the ITC was filed in June by the Polyethylene Retail Carrier Bag Committee, an ad hoc coalition of U.S. and Canadian bag manufacturers that includes PCL Packaging (Oakville, ON). On August 4, the ITC voted unanimously that there is a reasonable indication that the domestic industry may be injured and referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Commerce for further investigation. The deadline for the preliminary determination in the DOC’s anti-dumping investigation is November 26. If the DOC rules in favor of the petition, importers of bags will be required to post bond to cover provisional anti-dumping duties expected to range from 100 to 129%, depending on the shipment’s country of origin.
Swinimer reports that the second quarter of this year was one the worst in PCL’s records.
“We saw raw material price increases that the Asian companies didn’t see.”
Swinimer says another issue related to the dumping of plastic bags is the under-valuation of the Chinese yen.