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NEW YORK (ICIS) — As the third round of US-China tariffs looms, China finished plastics products will be in the crosshairs, along with additional US exports of commodity chemicals.

The proposed third round of tariffs, which the US plans to put on an additional $200bn in Chinese imports, and China on $60bn of US imports, raises the stakes in chemicals and plastics.

While the second round on $16bn in imports on both sides already in effect since 23 August impacted around $2.0bn in US chemicals and plastics exports and $2.2bn in China’s, round three targets another $8.8bn in US exports of these products, and $16.3bn in China exports, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

The first round of tariffs from the US and China on $34bn of imports implemented on 5 July did not include chemicals.

The bulk of the US tariffs in the third round target China’s finished plastics products, In round two, about $1.4bn in these exports were put under tariff. In round three this jumps to $5.8bn, according to an ICIS analysis of 2017 US International Trade Commission (USITC) statistics.

The products under tariff in rounds two and three include everything from plastic tubes, pipes and hoses, plates, sheets, films, containers, bags and sacks, lids and caps, to wall, ceiling and floor coverings, and gloves and ponchos.

In volumes, for the finished plastics products where China exports to the US are measured in kilograms, the second round captured 128,000 tonnes while this amount more than doubles to 284,000 tonnes in the third round. This could diminish China’s overall demand for polymer resins.

If the third round of tariffs are implemented, the combined impact on $7.2bn of finished plastics from China to the US will represent about 30% of US imports of these specific products under tariff, and 19% of US imports of all finished plastics products, including many not under tariff.

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