The office of the Tariff Commission of the State Council issued a notice on February 18. Since March 2, 2020, the Tariff Commission of the State Council has accepted the application of relevant enterprises in China. On the basis of examining the relevant applications one by one, the Tariff Commission of the State Council will not impose our 301 measures against the United States on imported goods purchased from the United States according to the principles of marketization and commercialization, which meet the requirements of the relevant enterprises Tariffs, which support businesses to import goods from the United States based on business considerations.
According to the announcement, Appendix 2 of  released a list of commodities that can be applied for exclusion, including 696 8-digit tax items, covering commodities with strong demand in China’s domestic market, including American agricultural products, energy products and manufactured products such as soybeans, crude oil and wood. Px, styrene and glycol in chemicals are all in the list, and the application for tariff reduction of PX, styrene and glycol from the United States will take effect from March 2.
In recent years, with the gradual increase of domestic glycol production capacity, the dependence on glycol import has gradually declined. According to statistics, in 2019, the total capacity of ethylene glycol in China is 10.93 million tons, and the capacity growth rate is 1.8%. The growth rate fell last year, mainly due to the decline of the price focus of domestic ethylene glycol in 2019, resulting in the production capacity less than expected. In 2019, domestic ethylene glycol imports totaled 9.95 million tons, an increase of 1.48% over last year. Saudi Arabia continued to rank first in terms of its cost advantage, accounting for 45% of the total. However, due to the impact of trade friction between China and the United States, the United States only imported 69600 tons, accounting for 1% in 2019.
In 2019, the capacity of new ethylene glycol in the world will be further increased. In addition to China and other Asian countries, the capacity of the United States will also grow rapidly. According to incomplete data statistics, there will be 1.78 million tons / year of new capacity put into production in 2019 in the United States. Including meglobal International’s 700000 ton glycol unit, Lotte chemical’s 700000 ton glycol unit and Sasol chemical’s 380000 ton glycol unit. At present, Formosa plastic’s 800000 ton glycol unit in Texas is still under construction, and it is planned to be put into operation in 2020. In 2022, ExxonMobil and SABIC’s new unit of 1.1 million ton / year near Corpus Christi, Texas, will be put into operation.
In recent years, with the growth of glycol production in North America, glycol export will be forced to continue to increase. According to the data, the export volume of glycol in North America has increased greatly since 2018, and it is estimated that the new export volume will be about one million tons by 2020. At present, Northeast Asia still plays the role of the largest demand for glycol, while China is the largest consumer of MEG in the world. In the future, the glycol in the United States may flow more to Northeast Asia or even China.
In 2019, the domestic glycol market was generally depressed, with a decline of nearly 35% for the whole year. In 2020, large petrochemical plants and new coal to ethylene glycol plants will be put into operation at a faster pace, and the contradiction between supply and demand will be intensified. The supply side of ethylene glycol will face a greater test. This time, the Tariff Commission of the State Council will carry out the market-oriented procurement policy for the United States and Canada, which may lead to more imports from the United States and further pressure on product prices.