Washington and Beijing – The polyurethane industry on both sides of the Pacific is wary of the fall-out from the current trade spat between the US and China.
The US is threatening to impose tariffs of 25% on a wide range of good, predominantly industrial, supplied by China. This is in retaliation for a range of Chinese tariffs imposed in April on products such as soft fruit, nuts and steel tubing. (Link in Chinese)
Among the categories of products listed in the US Federal Register on 20 June 2018 for potential tariffs are:
- cutting machinery for polymers and rubber;
- injection moulding machines for shoes made from rubber or plastics;
- general plastics production machinery; and,
- moulds for shoe making; machine tools for plastics processing.
CPUIA's deputy general secretary Lv Guohui told UTECH-polyurethane.com: 'Polyurethane products showed up in the second batch [of goods facing U.S. tariffs]. We have only one company with [significant] polyether polyol exports to the US and we are still trying to find out the impact.'
The American Chemistry Council, is the parent of the US Center for the Polyurethane Industry.
The ACC told UTECH-polyurethane.com: 'If US trade policy has the unintended consequence of making polyurethanes more expensive to produce, that could affect the companies that rely on this important chemistry.
The ACC added: 'Chemistry doesn’t belong on the front lines of this or any trade war. It’s far too important to our economy, to jobs, and to the countless innovations that make modern life possible.
'Countries like China are well aware of chemistry’s importance to our economic health. This is why we’ve seen retaliatory punches levelled against our industry.
'Chemicals are the foundation of the manufacturing value chain. When our industry is hit with tariffs, customer industries like the automotive sector also feel the pain.
'In the end, families are going to be faced with a significant blow to their budgets. They may not feel it now, but if the administration doesn’t work out a truce with our trading partners soon, consumers will soon discover the real-world effect of these tariffs.'
Jane Ho in Shanghai and Sarah Houlton contributed to this article.