Guangzhou, China — The escalating trade conflict between the United States and China was prompting some plastics investors to hit the pause button at the massive Chinaplas trade fair this week — with Chinese compounder Top Polymer Enterprise among them.
The uncertainty around tariffs was causing the Liyang, China-based firm to delay a $15 million investment in its first factory in the United States, near Atlanta, as both its supply chains and profits were taking a hit from rising tariffs.
"Right now, the environment is difficult for everyone, although at the moment it's the worst case scenario," President Marcus Tsong said in an interview at the company's booth at Chinaplas, which ran May 21-24 in Guangzhou and drew an estimated 180,000 attendees.
Tsong said his company remains firmly committed to moving ahead on its U.S. investment and hopes to complete it in early 2020. Original plans called for the factory to open this month.
But the back and forth over relations between the two countries has slowed the company's planning. Tsong's caution echoed others at the fair, which with 3,500 exhibiting firms ranks as one of the world's two largest plastics shows.
U.S. extrusion equipment maker Davis-Standard LLC, for example, noted that tariffs are causing its customers in China to put their orders for machines from the company's U.S. factories on hold.