Thailand among nations US accuses of ‘dumping’ paper plates


BANGKOK: US paper plate manufacturers have complained, alleging that Thai paper plates are being “dumped” into the US market.

News reports from the Thai Ministry of Commerce indicate that at the end of January 2024, The American Paper Plate Coalition submitted a petition to the US Ministry of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission to request an investigation into an alleged dumping violation of paper plate products originating from Thailand, China, and Vietnam.

The coalition claims that products from all three countries are flooding the US market, being sold at prices lower than those in their respective countries.

Furthermore, they are urging an additional investigation into the countervailing duty of products from China and Vietnam.

Both countries are alleged to be receiving government subsidies, affecting the competitiveness of US paper plate manufacturers and causing repercussions on imports and the industry workforce.

The petition was filed at a time in which the US public is increasingly turning to paper plates, bowls, and cups. It is estimated that in 2023, more than 220 million Americans regularly used paper plates and cups as food containers at home.

This trend is attributed to the preferences of young consumers who seek speed and convenience in their lives and do not want to clean up. Additionally, the growth of food delivery services contributes to the demand for disposable food containers.

There has been a consistent increase in the volume of paper plates being imported to the United States. In 2022, imports reached a value of US$542.24 million, showing a remarkable growth of over 567% compared to 2021.

However, in the 11 months from January to November in 2023, imports decreased by nearly 10%, resulting in a total value of $454.59 million, down from $504.21 million during the same period in 2021.

The top five external sources during this period were China, Taiwan, Mexico, Canada, and Vietnam.

In 2022, import values from China increased by nearly 85% to $305.36 million, while imports from Taiwan grew by 25% to $63.55 million. Vietnam contributed an import value of $20 million, marking an 82.5% rise.

Notably, imports from Thailand, although ranking ninth, saw a substantial leap of 827% compared to 2021

The import value from Thailand in 2022 amounted to US$5.8 million, a stark contrast to the $0.6 million in 2021.

The paper plate products subject to the US-triggered investigation include white paper plates, both coloured and uncoloured, plates with decorative patterns using any technique, method, or technology, and plates of any size, shape, or number of compartments.

This also encompassed plates decorated with foil or other materials on the plate’s rim or surface. Products not falling under the investigation are those made from liquid fibre directly moulded into plates, paper bowls, paper buckets, and food containers made of paper with lids.

The trade investigation process typically takes around a year. If the investigation reveals evidence of dumping in the market and actual subsidies, the United States may announce the imposition of anti-dumping duties on paper plates imported from the three countries.

Additionally, countervailing duties may be imposed on paper plates imported from China and Vietnam. - The Nation/ANN

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