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05-03-2016

Limited Availability of Polymers Threatens Plastics Converters

According to the Polymers for Europe Alliance, an initiative called into life by the European Plastics Converters association (EuPC) during its General Assembly in May 2015, EU plastics converting companies (mainly SMEs) are facing very serious difficulties since early 2015, due to limited availability of polymers.

Since early March 2015, the ageing EU polymer industry has declared new Forces Majeures on 66 occasions. This has exacerbated an already tense situation for the EU polyethylene and polypropylene markets and has driven polymer prices to levels not seen in the past decade. As a consequence of this situation, EU plastics converters submitted in 2015 45 requests for tariff suspensions and quotas in seven Member States.

The Polymers for Europe Alliance brought this situation to the attention of the European Commission and the Economic Tariff Questions Group (ETQG), ahead of the July 2016 round of tariff suspension and quota requests. The Alliance emphasized the importance of these tariff suspension and quota requests for the future competiveness of the EU plastics converting industry. To be successful, it is necessary to have unanimity amongst all Member States concerning a request for the tariffs on a quota of material to be suspended or removed. However, this unanimity could not be achieved: the UK, Italy, Spain and Portugal were opposed to the final request for a modest quota of material to be subject to a 3.5% reduction in the level of duty.

Given the objections made by certain polymer producers to the tariff requests, and the uncertainty of EU rules applicable to these requests, the Polymers for Europe Alliance is calling for a review of these rules via amendments to the applicable law even though there has not so far in 2016 been the same plethora of Forces Majeures that there was last year. According to the Polymers for Europe Alliance, this is the only way to fix a system which does not protect the competiveness of the EU plastics converting industry, a sector employing 1.6 million people and generating an annual turnover of EUR 380 billion.

Company profile

EuPC European Plastics Converters

Avenue de Cortenbergh 71
BE 1000 BRUXELLES
Tel.: +32 2 732-4124
Fax: +32 2 732-4218

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