SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Federal Secretary of Foreign Trade (Secex) opened an anti-dumping investigation this week into imports of polypropylene resin from India, South Korea and South Africa, prompted by a complaint from local petrochemical giant Braskem that it's being harmed by low-cost imports.
Secex will also investigate whether South Africa and India are providing subsidies to domestic PP producers. Braskem claims that resin imports from the three countries have increased 582 percent over the past five years, from 19,600 metric tons between April 2007 and March 2008, to 133,900 tons between April 2011 and March 2012.
Brazil's Chamber of Foreign Trade (Camex) has issued trade actions favorable to Braskem in the past, including in December 2010, when it applied an anti-dumping measure against PP resin imports from the United States for five years, at US$82.77 per ton.
Braskem is the a leading producer of thermoplastic resins in Latin America and the U.S., following its purchase of polypropylene assets of Dow Chemical Co. The company serves 70 percent of Brazilian demand in PP, PE and PVC resins, but foreign resin imports have gained Brazilian market share in recent years.
Brazil's annual consumption of PP is estimated at 1.4 million tons this year, with resin quoted between US$2,200 – US$2,400 per ton. Braskem has been a target of criticism by plastics processors over its perceived dominance of the resins market.
Brazil's import tariff on foreign PP is 14 percent, but could increase. Brazil's federal government raised the import tariff on PE in late 2012 from 14 percent to 20 percent.
Brazil has some of the highest import tariffs on resins in the world, compared to a global average of 7 percent, according to the Brazilian Plastics Industry Association (Abiplast). Imported processed plastic goods currently cost about 40 percent less than domestic options, Abiplast says.