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1990 figures: U.S. exports for nonwovens almost twice as much as imports.

Statistics are now available for import and export numbers for all of 1990 and they outline nearly a half billion dollars of nonwovens that are being imported to, and exported from, the U.S. A summary of the first six months of 1990 was published in the Capital Comments column of the October, 1990 issue of NONWOVENS INDUSTRY and is also available through INDA's ICAN network.

Since March, INDA has been distributing data that breaks down imports and exports by countries sending nonwoven roll goods to the U.S. or receiving roll goods from this county, overall values of these nonwovens and unit costs and values of items sent or received. This information is being sent through the ICAN network on a quarterly basis, but can be accessed monthly if necessary.

These statistics are supplied by the U.S. government based on a new classification for nonwoven roll goods that has only been in place since Jan. 1, 1990. For this reason, INDA and its members will be reviewing this data for its overall reliability on an ongoing basis.

Basic Of Statistics

Import/export data is based on shipping documents collected by the U.S. Customs Service and is based on Harmonized Tariff Schedule, (HTS) classification numbers, which must be posted on incoming and outgoing materials.

INDA lobbied the federal government for more than four years to establish HTS categories (known as "break outs") based on the different technologies used to manufacture nonwoven roll goods. These efforts have been successful and since January 1990, the HTS has included break outs for the five following categories: thermal bonded (HTS number 5603.00.90.30.5), hydroentangled--both wet and dry laid (5063.00.90.50.0), spunbonded and melt blown nonwovens (5603.00.90.70.6), chemically bonded and air laid nonwovens (5603.00.90.90.2) and stitchbonded (6002.43.00.20.0).

INDA will continue its efforts to have additional break outs established. In fact, we are particularly interested in g aining separate categories for spunbonded and melt blown nonwovens, as well as separate categories for chemically bonded and air laid nonwovens.

1990 Findings--Exports

During 1990, more than 47 million kilograms (a kilogram equals about 2.2 pounds) of nonwoven roll goods were exported from the U.S., with an overall "free along side value" of nearly $232 million (FAS value is defined as the "transaction cost" and does not include freight, insurance and duties).

Chemically bonded and air laid roll goods were the most highly exported fabrics, with nearly 30 million kilograms shipped from the U.S. during 1990. The FAS value for this category was about $151 million. The next largest category of exports was hydroentangled fabrics which, at 13.5 million kilograms and FAS value of $64 million, were dwarfed by the chemically bonded and air laid fabrics.

Total exports for spundbonded and melt blown fabrics reached about 2.8 million kilograms in 1990, with an FAS value of $12.7 million. Nearly 905,000 kilograms of thermal bonded fabric were shipped, with an FAS of just about $4 million, and 48.5 thousand kilograms of stitchbonded fabrics were exported, with an FAS of about $296,000.

Interestingly, U.S. exports of chemically bonded and air laid fabrics were so dominant that the total number of kilograms for the other four categories combined equalled just over half of the total kilograms of chemically bonded and air laids (30 million kilograms for chemically bonded and air laid fabrics versus 17 million kilograms for all other categories combined).

Where did all of these exports go? The overwhelming majority (63.6%) of the chemically bonded and air laid fabrics were shipped to Mexico. Some 94% of all hydroentangled fabrics were sent to Canada and most of the spunbonded and melt blown fabrics were either shipped to the U.K. (25.6%) or Hong Kong (23.7%).

Thermally bonded fabrics were sent al over the world with no single country favored--18% were sent to Hong Kong, 14% to Korea and 13% to the U.K.; Mexico and Germany received about 13% each as well. More than 56% of the stitchbondeds were exported to Mexico, 23.6% were sent to the U.K. and 9.3% were shipped to Denmark.

Many of these exported roll goods, especially those sent to Mexico, were likely converted into finished products and then shipped back into the U.S. for eventual sale. This is a relatively common practice that allows manufacturers to take advantage of lower labor costs for cutting and sewing finished products.

About $130 Million In Imports

Slightly more than 26 million kilograms of nonwoven roll goods were shipped to the U.S. during 1990, with an FAS value of about $131.5 million. Nearly half of all imports (12.9 million kilograms) were either spundbonded or melt blown fabrics and had an FAS value of almost $61 million.

The next largest category of imports were thermally bonded fabrics--seven million kilograms with an FAS value of $30.8 million--followed closely by chemically bonded and air laid fabrics, which accounted for about 5.2 million kilograms and an FAS value of $31.7 million. Nearly 896,000 kilograms of hydroenthangled fabrics were imported to the U.S. during 1990 with an FAS value of almost $8 million. Last but not least, 15,800 kilograms of stitchbonded fabrics were imported with an FAS value of almost $109,000.

Most of the spunbonded and melt blown fabrics came from either the U.K. (25.6%), Hong Kong (23.7%) or Japan (5.2%). Similarly, most of the thermal bonded fabrics came from either Hong Kong (18.2%), Korea (13.7%) or the U.K. (13.4%). Mexico and Germany were also responsible for imports of thermally bonded fabrics, sending 13.3% and 12.8%, respectively.

Chemically bonded and air laid fabrics were primarily imported from either Japan (34.1%) or Canada (18.1%), with Israel and Germany each sending an additional 10% of the total as well. Most of the hydroentangled fabrics were either imported from Japan (63.3%) or the Netherlands (21.8%) and almost all of the stitchbondeds came from either Italy (67%), Japan (24.9%) or the U.K. (8.2%).

Charting The Future

Since 1990 was the first year that these breakouts existed under the HTS, it is difficult to compare the statistics currently available with those collected under the old Tariff Schedule of the U.S. In the future, however, INDA will use this data to chart import and export trends for nonwoven roll goods.

Peter Mayberry is the director of government affairs for INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry. He works out of the Washington, DC offices of Keller & Heckman, INDA's legal counsel. This Capital Comments column appears monthly in Nonwovens Industry.
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Author:Mayberry, Peter
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:May 1, 1991
Words:1132
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