Dollar and yuanDelegates from the Chinese plastics recycling sector will travel to the U.S. next month with an eye toward planning for the industry’s future.

The China Scrap Plastics Association (CSPA) first announced its interest in researching U.S. investment opportunities in mid-December. An executive with the group recently offered more details to Plastics Recycling Update.

Harry Lee, a manager at CSPA, said the group wants to get acquainted with American plastics processors who would like Chinese processing investments for equipment or other infrastructure. The group wants to get in touch with U.S. collectors who are having trouble moving materials and are looking to set up domestic processing capacity.

CSPA also wants to partner with major U.S. recycling companies to build new processing infrastructure. Lee said the Chinese industry has heard U.S. companies want to build processing plants that will produce higher-quality materials domestically.

“I think we can work with them on that,” he said. Some of CSPA’s members, for example, want to expand their capacity to produce pellet and flake in the U.S.

The industry association will visit the U.S. next month in conjunction with the Plastics Recycling Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The group has organized a session titled, “Chinese Companies Seek Investment in the U.S.,” which will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Feb. 20.

Lee said the group is looking to touch base with companies in Nashville, as well as those with branches elsewhere in the Tennessee, Georgia, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia or New York City regions. CSPA said it can visit companies at the end of February.

The group said it understands the impact China’s restrictions have had on the industry both in China and the U.S., and noted that “this cooperation will benefit both sides,” Lee said.

CSPA’s drive comes down to one core idea: China has been the world’s major plastics processing player for the past two decades, and the Chinese industry will retain this position, despite the import restrictions, through investments in the U.S. or Southeast Asia.

In another effort to benefit the industry in both countries, CSPA is looking to secure additional scrap plastic feedstock to feed the growing Southeast Asian processing market. Many Chinese companies have moved to this region to absorb some of the displaced material that can no longer enter China. These companies are creating higher-quality scrap feedstock, or washed flake and processed pellets for Chinese end users.

“They will need all kind of scraps,” Lee wrote. “I think it is high time for them to contact American suppliers.”

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