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Thai plastic pellet exporters ‘to gain’ after Philippines halts safeguard probe

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Exporters of plastic pellets will stand to gain now that the Philippines has formally announced a halt to its so-called safeguard investigation, the Foreign Trade Department said on Wednesday.

Department director-general Phithak Udomwichaiwat said the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officially announced it would stop its investigation into safeguards of linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) pellets on June 3.

The probe sought to determine whether increased imports of a product were causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury to that country's industry. During the investigation, importers, exporters and other interested parties were allowed to present evidence and views and respond to the presentations of other parties.

The formal announcement by the DTI came after the Philippine Tariff Commission issued a report on May 20 that the import of LLDPE pellets did not rise significantly as claimed, so no safeguard tariff was required.

The DTI began the probe on August 28, 2020, after a local petrochemical firm called on the government to use a “safeguard” duty to protect the local industry on the charge that imports of LLDPE pellets would increase to a level that would threaten the local industry.

Thai plastic pellet exporters ‘to gain’ after Philippines halts safeguard probe Initially, the DTI found some grounds for the charge, so it ordered the Philippine Tariff Commission to launch the formal probe on September 30, 2021.

Phithak said his department strongly defended Thailand against allegations that it was jeopardising the Philippine pellet industry.

LLDPE pellets are used in making food-grade plastic bags and plastic film for wrapping food.

“The halt in the investigation will bode well for the Thai plastic pellet industry because Philippine importers can be assured that importing pellets from Thailand would not be slapped with any safeguard duty,” Phithak said.

He said plastic pellet exports ranked fourth in terms of value of total goods exported from Thailand.

Thai plastic pellet exporters ‘to gain’ after Philippines halts safeguard probe According to Phithak, Thailand exported about 57 billion baht worth of plastic pellets last year, and in the first quarter of this year the value was 16 billion baht, a 30-per cent increase year-on-year.

He said China was the biggest market for Thai plastic pellets, accounting for 60 per cent of exports, followed by Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia. The Philippines ranked ninth, with a value of 1 billion baht last year.

Although the Philippines is not a big market for Thai plastic pellets, it could turn into one with good prospects in the future, Phithak added.

Published : June 22, 2022

By : THE NATION