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Nonwoven imports to and exports from Japan.

the import and export of nonwovens into and out of the Far Eastern nonwovens producing country are both increasing as a relatively stagnant domestic market in some areas is supported by growing demand in others The exporting of nonwovens from Japan, which had been steadily increasing until 1984, remained stagnant in mid-decade but are now increasing again. Imports had been rapidly increasing since 1984 and surpassed the export total in 1986. This margin has continued to increase.

In 1989, the resultant domestic nonwovens consumption was about 149,500 tons, resulting from imports of 16,648 tons, exports of 12,350 tons and domestic production of 145,1 00 tons. Imported nonwovens have a market share of 1 1.1 % in total domestic demand for nonwovens, which is higher than the 1 0% of a year earlier.

The figure on page 16 illustrates the trend of nonwoven roll goods imports to and exports from Japan. Particulars Of Imported Nonwovens

Polypropylene nonwovens were imported in the largest quantities, with 43.6% of the total, followed by polyester with 21.5%, aramid with 8.8% and rayon with 6.2% In 1989, the amount of the aramids, which were primarily "Nomex" papers from DuPont, was 1452 tons, a 33.5% increase from the previous year.

The country from which the largest quantities of nonwovens have been imported is the U.S., followed by West Germany. The two countries combined account for 75% of total imports (See figure below).

Classified by manufacturing methods, the thermal bonded (PP), spunbonded PP, PET, HDPE) and spunlaced (PET, PET/pulp) are predominant.

One of the reasons why imports have increased is the increased power of price competition. The average price of imported nonwovens stayed at about 2000 yen/kg until 1984, but began to come down in 1985, owing to a high evaluation of yen, resulting in 791 yen/kg in 1989. With Nomex excluded, the average is further decreased to 639 yen/kg, exhibiting a strong power of competition.

In particular, the polypropylene nonwovens, whose price is 477 yen/kg, are least expensive of all imported nonwovens. Thermal bonded and spunbonded polypropylene nonwovens are now obtaining a large demand from the diaper coverstock market. In this market, price competition is severe, which is a favorable condition for imported products.

Also, domestic production of spunlaced, flash spun nonwovens and aramid paper remains at a low level and their quality is inferior to imports. These nonwovens cannot comply with domestic demands and requirements, causing end users to rely on imports.

Although the quality of nonwovens produced in Japan is improving, Japan is still behind the U.S. and Western Europe in production quantity, remaining at a disadvantage from the viewpoint of cost. The growth rate of imports (1 6.9% in 1989) overwhelms that of domestic production (10.0%). It is an urgent problem determining how the Japanese nonwovens manufacturers can succeed in decreasing cost while still competing in quality.
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Author:Ohmura, Kin
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1990
Words:491
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