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October 10, 2003

Plastic Bag Fight Pits U.S. Makers V. U.S. Importers

Wall Street Journal

When fierce overseas competition forced a Sonoco Products Co. plastic bag-making business to close its Santa Maria, Calif., plant last year, ending 100 jobs, the company went on the offensive.

Sonoco and four other U.S. makers of plastic shopping bags, used by grocery and department stories, charged that manufacturers in China, Thailand and Malaysia were violating U.S. antidumping laws by selling the bags in the U.S. below cost.

U.S. manufacturers argue that plastic bags produced in the U.S. and Asia are the same quality, but that Internet bidding has forced the price down, allowing aggressive Asian companies to bid below their real cost. They say the Asian producers want to put the U.S. manufacturers out of business, seizing the U.S. market's 100 billion plastic bags a year.

Most retailers buy bags from Asia through distributors, and have been reluctant to involve themselves in the trade spat. But Target, the nation's second-largest retailer and one of the few companies to purchase the bulk of its 1.8 billion bags a year via the Internet, has come out swinging against the petition.

Link: Plastic Bag Fight Pits U.S. Makers V. U.S. Importers.

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