Plastics News - Show Daily - October 21, 2022 - 24

24 * Plastics News, October 21, 2022
SHOW DAILY
Plastics Industry Association talks
economy, reorganization, NPE2024
Plastics Industry
Association President
and CEO Matt Seaholm
says the group plans
a stepped-up focus on
advocacy and outreach
to the industry.
PLASTICS
INDUSTRY
ASSOCIATION
Hall 13,
Booth A89-09
By Steve Toloken
Plastics News Staff
In a wide-ranging news conference
at K 2022, the Plastics
Industry Association, one of
the big U.S. trade groups, talked
economic data, new leadership
in the organization and plans
for its next NPE show.
The Washington-based association
released a summary of
its annual " Global Trends " economic
report at the K 2022 show.
The numbers were skewed by
inflation, but the group said its
data showed some positives in
global trade trends, with volumes
in 2021 returning from a
2020 coronavirus drop-off.
" 2022 is shaping up to be a
pretty good year for the plastics
industry, " said Perc Pineda,
chief economist for the association.
" It's 2023 that's clouding the
amount of uncertainty because
of the global phenomenon of
higher infl ation, higher interest
rates and higher energy prices. "
European plastics associations
at K 2022 have said repeatedly at
the fair that higher energy prices
in Europe, related in part to fallout
from the Russia-Ukraine war,
are making Europe's plastics industry
less competitive.
Pineda said that could be an
opportunity for the American
industry to export more to Europe,
but he noted that the
U.S. producers are hurt by the
strong U.S. dollar.
" Absolutely there is opportunity
to export more to other
countries, particularly into Europe, "
Pineda said. " The hurdle
at the moment is really the
strengthening of the U.S. dollar.
" If you take that out of the
equation, the rest of the world
will actually be much, much
higher, " he said.
Pineda also said that from the
group's economic data, it did
not appear that increased regulation
of plastics had lowered
plastics consumption in the
United States.
" That's really a very interesting
part because we're seeing a
higher apparent consumption of
plastics in the United States, " Pineda
said. " So it makes you wonder,
what is the impact of all this
proposed regulation and concerns
about the environment?
" Can we dismiss them as pure
noise in the market? " he said. " But
it's not also correct to do so. "
He said investment in the
plastics industry in the U.S. is
increasing.
" Capital expenditure in the
U.S. plastics industry has actually
been increasing, " Pineda said.
" Why would all these companies
invest more if they think business
is actually slowing down
because of concerns about circularity
and the environment. "
President and CEO Matt
Seaholm told the news conference
that the group has undergone
substantial
leadership
changes since it fired its former
president and CEO, Tony Radoszewski,
in March.
" We had to rebuild the team;
we had to expand the team, "
Seaholm said. " We had to bring
in additional capabilities. "
Seaholm was elevated from vice
president of government affairs
in April, and he said Chief Operating
Offi cer Glenn Anderson had
been working to add staff.
The group hired a new vice
president of communications, as
well as having Pineda return to
the group after leaving in early
2022, as well as other staff returning
or vacant positions fi lled.
" [Pineda's return] was a huge,
huge get for us, " Seaholm said.
The association and Radoszewski
have been embroiled in
competing lawsuits since he left
the organization.
Seaholm said the group plans
a stepped-up focus on advocacy
and outreach to the industry.
" It is really about being a
stronger voice for the industry, "
Seaholm said. " We do that by
really dedicating ourselves to, I
would say, a renewed mission. "
Previewing NPE2024
The association also previewed
its upcoming NPE2024
show, slated for May 2024 in Orlando,
Fla., with Anderson saying
the association expects 55,000
attendees and 2,000 exhibitors at
the fi ve-day show, which is North
America's largest plastics fair.
The association was forced to
cancel the 2021 edition, which is
held every three years, because
of the coronavirus pandemic.
" We have a unique challenge
ahead of us, " Anderson said.
" With NPE2021 being canceled
because of COVID, we have a sixyear
gap that we have to bridge. "
In its details on global trade
trends, the association's report
said the U.S. plastics sector saw
its trade defi cit grow from $5.4
billion in 2020 to $10.1 billion last
year, and it seems to be on target
to keep increasing. The U.S.
industry had generally been running
a surplus, mostly because of
resin exports, prior to that.
" Data through the first half of
2022 suggest further deepening
of the deficit, and the authors
project a continued deepening
through 2023, " the report said.
" After that, some improvement
is likely, but not certain. "
The report suggested it's unlikely
that the U.S. would develop
a strong enough manufacturPlastics
Industry Association Chief Economist Perc Pineda says the
U.S. industry is in good shape for 2022, but 2023 predictions remain
cloudy. Plastics News photos by Caroline Seidel
ing policy to help reverse what
it said was a loss of domestic
market share to imports.
" Restoration of the domestic
share would take a concerted
effort by the government to
bring manufacturing back to
the U.S. - lots of money and incentives, "
the association said.
" Deadlock appears likely to be
the mode of government until
after the 2024 elections, so at
least another couple of years of
share loss seems likely. "
The report presented some detailed
analysis of different parts
of the U.S. plastics industry and
some global developments. For
example, it noted that Germany's
resin and machinery industries
continued to do well in the
U.S. market. The American industry
had its largest defi cits in
both resin and machinery with
Germany, at $1.4 billion and $708
million, respectively.
The report said China, the
U.S. and Germany were the
three largest nations in international
trade in the broader plastics
industry, measuring data of
trade on resins, products, machinery
and molds.
The U.S. plastics industry had
its largest surplus last year -
$10.8 billion - with Mexico, and
its largest deficit with China, at
$18.2 billion. The chief cause of
the China deficit is in plastics
products, where the Asian giant
had a $20.3 billion surplus with
the U.S., the report said.
But it also noted that China
may be losing some of its competitive
edge, with Taiwan, South
Korea and Vietnam " starting to
bite into China's market share. "
It said that up until 2005, the
U.S. was the world's top plastics
and rubber producer, but
by 2021, Chinese plastics and
rubber production was 2.8 times
larger than America's. Measured
by population, however, it said
the fi gures look a little different.
Industrialized countries like
France, the U.S. and Germany
have per-capita consumption
of plastics and rubber between
$700 and $1,100, while China
had about $566 per person last
year, although it noted a lot of
that would have been in products
designed for exports.
India, by comparison, had
only $53 of similar consumption
in plastics and rubber last year.
" India is one of the great markets
of the future, but it does
not appear destined to duplicate
China's success with manufacturing, "
the report said.

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