FocusEurope PET customers rally against anti-dumping campaigns

25 February 2010 14:28  [Source: ICIS news]

By Caroline Murray

LONDON (ICIS news)--Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) customers in Europe are rallying against an existing anti-dumping campaign and have expressed concern about further news of investigations into material from KP Chemical in South Korea, saying such moves would not help the industry, they said on Thursday.

“It will be a negative consequence for the European PET industry [were anti-dumping levies to be applied] because European assets are not competitive compared to Middle Eastern or Asian assets,” a buyer said.

European producers would presume to be protected by potential anti-dumping duties. The pressure from outside competitors would be reduced, so they would not have incentives to invest in the domestic industry, and this would be “a killer”, the buyer continued.

One PET buyer chose to remain neutral in the debate and a reseller thought that producers would fail in their efforts because there simply was not enough domestic capacity to satisfy European demand.

“We need imports because there is such a shortage. We estimate a gap of about 1m/year. Existing PET producers in Europe are not always ideally located, so imports are necessary,” another buyer agreed.

Another source highlighted how important imports were during the troubles that La Seda de Barcelona’s Artenius sites encountered through 2009.

A danger would be that producers affected by anti-dumping duties would sell PET into non-EU countries such as Croatia, which could then result in the preform product being dumped into the EU, several buyers speculated.

This week’s news that the European Commission has initiated a preliminary review into PET bottle-grade chip imports from KP Chemical on possible dumping activities caused ripples of concern through the European customer base.

One source was surprised that the anti-dumping investigations were towards a specific player as opposed to a country.

“I thought [KP Chemical] would be quite safe after their investment in Europe,” a different customer said.

KP Chemical Corporation’s subsidiary, Lotte Chemical UK, recently took over Artenius’ PET and feedstock purified terephthalic acid (PTA) assets in Wilton.

Another anti-dumping campaign was initiated in 2009 by the PET Committee of Plastics Europe against imports from Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan on behalf of suppliers representing more than 50% of production in the EU.

Upstream, there was also an initiation of an anti-subsidy proceeding concerning imports of upstream PTA originating from Thailand.

PET spot price indications from importers, meanwhile, were in line with those on offer from European producers, according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

“There may be €5-10/tonne ($6-14/tonne) difference [between domestic PET and imports],” an importer said, echoing statements made by others. The reason for this was to take into consideration the time lag between setting the price and delivering the material, the importer added.

Domestic prices were confirmed at €1,050-1,090/tonne FD (free delivered) Europe for February delivery and there was talk of sellers increasing their March offers by €30/tonne, sources said.

Most imported material was available at €1,050/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) for end-March, early-April arrival, putting delivered values around €1,100/tonne FD Europe, buyers and seller said.

($1 = €0.74)

For more on PET and PTA visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Caroline Murray
44208 652 3214

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