Shanghai — With trade tensions rising between the U.S. and China — and the possibility of each country slapping sizable tariffs on large parts of their trade in plastics — there was, as you might expect, a lot of concern on the floor of Chinaplas.
"If the trade war really starts, we'll be impacted negatively," said Cui Xiaojun, China CEO for German machinery maker KraussMaffei Group GmbH. "We are getting prepared. But, as you know, this is all discussions. Nothing has happened so far."
Showgoers, particularly those with strong China-U.S. connections, expressed worry about business disruptions from all the talk of trade wars. But most interviewed at the fair, held April 24-27 in Shanghai, were also holding out hope for a more amicable resolution.
Keith Boss, CEO Americas for China's Guangzhou Tech-Long Packaging Machinery Co. Ltd., said his company has made a substantial commitment to the U.S. market since 2012 and "has come too far to turn away."
"We'll just have to weather the storm if it happens," he said. "I believe this is a negotiation. In the end, what gets resolved will be less bad than what is presented today."
That could be what happens. President Trump said April 24 he's sending four senior aides to China in early May to keep negotiating.
But on the other hand, the tariffs and counter-tariffs outlined so far by Washington and Beijing could reshape the market in important ways.