Lehigh Valley Receives International Attention in Plastics Industry
By Colin McEvoy on July 2, 2015
The Lehigh Valley has received some international attention as a result of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) meeting with a contingent of visiting journalists earlier this year.
Modern Plastics India, one of the premier plastics trade publications in South Asia, published a comprehensive supplement about the Lehigh Valley and its high concentration and variety of manufacturing sectors, including plastics.
The article, written by Ginu Joseph, stemmed from a week-long tour of Pennsylvania that included journalists from publications in the United States, France, India, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
LVEDC officials visited with the journalists and discussed the Lehigh Valley’s $34.3 billion economy and the 43 plastics manufacturing companies located in the region. Additional stories are expected from the other publications represented.
The Lehigh Valley is a strong and growing market for international companies. About one third of LVEDC’s current prospects are coming from outside the country, and the region already boasts a strong base of existing international companies, including Olympus Corp., B. Braun, Nestlé, Mack Trucks, and Sodexo.
Earlier this year, it was announced a subsidiary of Safran, a major multi-national aerospace company, opened a facility in the Lehigh Valley. Additionally, LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham embarked on an international business development tour with stops in Germany, France, and England, during which several companies expressed an interest in establishing a presence in the Lehigh Valley.
“As the market for overseas companies continues to grow in the Lehigh Valley, publicity like this article will become more and more important,” Cunningham said. “Our central location and many economic assets makes us extremely attractive to international companies seeking a strong consumer base in the Northeastern United States.”
The Modern Plastics India story lauds several of those economic assets, including its central location, well-developed transportation infrastructure, and availability of office space, water and sewer capacity, skilled industrial workers, and labor training incentives.
“The Lehigh Valley is comprised of just two counties, Northampton and Lehigh,” the article reads. “However, if the Lehigh Valley were to break away and form its own nation, its $34 billion economy would register larger than the economics of more than 104 nations on this earth!”
In its 14th year of publication, Modern Plastics India is an English-language monthly magazine for plastic professionals that enjoys a strong presence not only in India, but other countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.
Among the Lehigh Valley’s plastics manufacturing companies are Fuling Plastic USA, which is establishing a $21.3 million facility in Upper Macungie Township, creating 75 new jobs. The American subsidiary of Taizhou Fuling Plastics Co., it is the first Chinese manufacturing company to establish a facility in the state of Pennsylvania.
Other such companies include Lehigh Valley Plastics, Smooth-On Inc. and such international companies as Airlite Plastics Co. (Switzerland), Harvel Plastics Inc. (Switzerland), Carpenter Co. (Germany) and Amcor Rigid Plastics USA (Australia).
The journalists’ tour included writers from the publications Plastics Technology Magazine (United States), Plast Panorama Scandinavia (Denmark), Kunststof en Rubber (Netherlands) and Plastiques et Caoutchoucs (France). The tour also included stops in Williamsport, Montoursville, Pittston, Lehighton, Bloomsburg and New Berlin.
It was organized by CORE PA Global, the centerpiece of a Pennsylvania government initiative established to increase the visibility of a 53-county footprint of the state to international and domestic investors and reshoring prospects. CORE PA is already home to more than 2,100 foreign-owned entities.
Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the United States, and Pennsylvania shale gas is opening new opportunities for plastics manufacturers, according to CORE PA. The availability of natural gas liquids is drastically lowering the cost of plastics production by providing ethylene as an inexpensive feedstock alternative in addition to propylene.
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