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Plastic bags, finished goods targeted as US/China trade war escalates

HOUSTON, September 18, 2018 (PCW) -- The Trump administration yesterday announced that it will increase tariffs by 10% on about $200 billion of goods from China, and plastics goods such as shopping backs and vinyl flooring are on the list of targets.

The 10% tariffs, which represent the third round of tariffs implemented by the US this year, are scheduled to take effect Sep 24, and the rate is scheduled to increase to 25% on January 1, 2019.

China overnight said it will respond with additional tariffs on US goods, effective September 24. However, a detailed list of tariff targets was not immediately available.

Previously China retaliated against US tariffs by targeting HDPE and LLDPE, which created substantial disruption of trade flows for those commodity resins. China could opt to expand the list to include other types of plastic such as LDPE or higher-alpha olefin (HAO) LLDPE.

The US imports relatively little plastic raw material from China, and the biggest plastics (Chapter 39) items on the $200 billion US list are finished goods.

Among plastics goods, the largest tariff target by 2017 value is vinyl tile floor coverings ($1.675 billion), followed by PE sacks and bags ($817 million), other plastic articles for the conveyance and packaging of goods ($509 million), and carboys, bottles, flasks and similar articles for the conveyance or packing of goods ($322 million).

Other notable targets include plastic caps and closures, flexible plastic tubes, pipes and hoses, and plastic articles of apparel and clothing accessories, each valued at $100-300 million in 2017. -- David Barry

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