MarginUp Web Services

          The platform that enables you to take advantage of global supply chain

This Blog


Global Trade

October 2012 - Posts

  • The Global Plastics Industry

    "Plastics." In the classic film The Graduate, young Benjamin is advised to consider plastics in his career plans because the industry is decidedly primed to play a large role in the future. One can argue that the film correctly predicted the importance of this material, as one finds it in nearly everything we use daily. The food industry, computers and technology, healthcare, and the automotive sector... every corner of global business relies upon some type of plastic to function.


    Quick Facts About the Plastics Industry

    • According to the Plastics Industry Trade Association, growth in the United States alone has risen steadily by more than two percent annually over the last twenty years.
    • According to Plastics Europe, the last three years saw production of plastics increase by six percent.
    • The most widely produced plastic products include polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
    • In the United States, approximately 2.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles are recycled. (Source:
    • Globally, plastic accounts for twelve percent of total recycled materials.

    Top Producers and Exporters of Plastic

    The Middle East has, in recent years, become a leader in the manufacture and export of plastics and plastic materials. According to Yalla Finance, it is estimated that overall production in the region will exceed one hundred million tons by the end of 2012. Among the top producing nations:

    • Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia accounts for more than half of plastics production in the Middle East. Forty million tons on average are moved out annually.
    • Germany - GTAI reports that this industry generates over thirty billion Euro in revenue for Germany.
    • United States - Major corporations like Dow and DuPont have helped the American industry. Exports, according to the Society of the Plastics Industry, average close to four hundred billion dollars a year.
    • Taiwan - With over seven hundred working plants, Taiwan is one of the larger producers of plastics in Asia. According to Plastics News, the country has benefitted from rising costs in China and consequent relocation to Taiwan.
    • Qatar - Qatar ranks behind Saudi Arabia as a top Middle East producer. The majority of their export is traded to other Middle Eastern nations and parts of Europe.

    Challenges in the Plastics Industry

    Though efforts to recycle plastic rise with each passing year, environmental concerns remain a clear challenge for this industry. Advocates of green business cite health concerns attached to the use of plastic products, largely due to the petrochemicals used in production. Alternatives such as corn-based resin have been introduced to create biodegradable alternatives. However, production continues to increase the risk of greenhouse gases.

    One can argue plastics will continue to contribute to other global industries. Progress in technology and medicine may depend upon new innovations in production, and hopefully methods to keep products and increase renewable resources.

    by Kathryn Lively

  • The Global Copper Industry

    How precious is copper? There once was a time when copper comprised the bulk of a United States cent piece (now it is mostly zinc composition), and recently news of copper thefts have brought awareness to its value. Thieves are willing to take copper from telephone wires and electric substations, often at great personal risk, to sell for scrap. Even in a progressively wireless global community, copper plays an important role in the way we work and live. As an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, this precious metal remains relevant and in high demand.

    Copper Industry

    Quick Facts About the Global Copper Industry

    • The average US household uses about four hundred pounds of copper for various purposes – wiring, cooking, and even for automobile parts. (Source: Arizona Mining Association)
    • Copper is one of the world’s most versatile elements. It is recyclable and malleable, and is used in the creation of brass and bronze.
    • The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the best example of a structure that uses a great amount of copper. Nearly eighty tons were used to build it.
    • According to, there could be as much as 300 million tons of copper not yet discovered in the United States alone.

    On average, about 85 million metric tons may be mined annually around the world.

    Top Countries in Copper Production

    Copper Investing News, from their most recent records, reports the following nations lead the copper industry:

    • Chile – These days, people may associate Chile’s mining industry with the 2010 accident that had the world watching a dramatic rescue of thirty-three trapped miners. Before this occurred, Chile was producing more than five million tons of copper a year, and remains a world leader in the industry. Copper exports account for a third of the nation’s income.
    • United States – Over the last two centuries, copping mining in the US peaked in 2000 with more than two million metric tons produced. A dramatic decrease in production in the next decade resulted in a spike in value, which may explain an uptick in theft. (Source: United States Geological Survey)
    • Peru – Peru is currently the second larger copper producer in the world behind Chile. The country is also home to one of the largest such mines in the world. (Source: USGS)
    • China – Though averaging less than a million tons a year in production, China is a larger consumer of copper and has even looked elsewhere to supplement their reserves. Very recently, a Chinese businessman bid to takeover a mine in Botswana. (Source: CBS)

    The Future of the Copper Industry

    With the versatility of copper comes the growth in opportunity for its use. Copper is used in everything from minting currency to building cargo ships. Telephone lines may one day come down, but the copper used in them can be re-purposed for other necessities. Tapping into reserve mines in the US and a growth in recycling is sure to keep copper a valuable metal anywhere in the world.