The trade war between China and the U.S. is creating additional opportunities for European exporters of plastics, plastic products and materials in both these key markets, as both sides erect protective tariffs against each other.
While talks stall to resolve the dispute over American claims of Chinese misconduct regarding intellectual property, industrial subsidies and market access, duties of 10 percent are being imposed by the U.S. on Chinese goods and 10 percent and 5 percent by China on imports from the U.S.
Both sides have announced these latest duties will be imposed in two stages, on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.
On Sept. 1, U.S. duties will take effect on Chinese plastic products such as bathroom fixtures, dining sets, furniture, nursing products, fasteners, laminated wallpaper, clothing, footwear, jewelry and sanitary items. Paraffin wax and other chemicals are also listed.
Plastic office and school supplies, ornaments, waterbeds, pneumatic mattresses, other footwear, high chairs, toys and hair accessories will be added to the list Dec. 15.
The Chinese retaliatory duties on U.S. exports focus more on basic plastic materials lines.
Beijing's duties will include 5 percent tariffs on American-made plastic molds; PVC; plastic monofilament, strips, rods and profile profiles; plastic tubes, hoses, pipes; and PVC sheet, films, foils and flat strips, for instance. These duties will take effect at the beginning of September.
Variable duties of 5 percent and 10 percent apply to U.S.-made plastic consumer products such as bath fixtures, boxes, bags and furniture; and suitcases and some footwear.
On Dec. 15, China will impose 10 percent duties on American plastic sanitaryware, tableware, window panels, clothes and sculptures.
The December tariffs will also cover a 5 percent duty for plastic caps, flowers, doors, window frames, boots and buttons as well as a 10 percent rate on U.S.-made plastic molding and calendaring machines.
The trade war, said Hong Kong-based Asian business advisers Dezan Shira & Associates, was weakening U.S. export competitiveness.
"The new tariffs represent an overall total value of about 10 percent of all U.S.-China bilateral trade, which … means that another $75 billion … is about to have new or additional tariffs imposed upon them — a significant burden for U.S. suppliers to China," said the strategic consulting firm in a statement.
Will the U.S. and Chinese governments reach an agreement on their disputes over trade and remove these tariffs? Talks in September are still scheduled, with the Chinese government calling on the U.S. to create diplomatic conditions conducive to a deal.
President Donald Trump is optimistic, saying, "I think we're going to have a deal because now we're dealing on proper terms. They understand and we understand."
However, China's State Council Tariff Commission has been far less enthusiastic, saying, "The U.S. measures have led to the continuous escalation of Sino-U.S. economic and trade frictions, which have greatly harmed the interests of China, the United States and other countries."