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LVEDC Welcomes International Journalists Covering Plastics Manufacturing Industry

By Colin McEvoy on April 27, 2015

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) this month welcomed a contingent of visiting international journalists who cover the plastics manufacturing industry, sharing news about the Lehigh Valley’s significant growth in that subsector.

“One of the things that’s really notable about the Lehigh Valley is we have a very high concentration and variety of manufacturing sectors, and plastics is one of those sectors,” Lea B. Glembot, LVEDC vice president of economic development and marketing, said during the Thursday presentation.

Journalists from publications in the United States, France, India, Denmark and the Netherlands learned about the Lehigh Valley as part of their week-long visit to Pennsylvania for the CORE PA Plastics & Energy Media Tour.

Glembot discussed the 43 plastics manufacturing companies located in the Lehigh Valley. 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).

Former Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Jim Cawley (right) greating Fuling Plastic USA founder Guilan Jiang at a May 2014 groundbreaking event.

Former Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Jim Cawley (right) greating Fuling Plastic USA founder Guilan Jiang at a May 2014 groundbreaking event.

She also discussed 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.

Fuling is China’s largest manufacturer of plastic tableware and kitchenware, supplying plastic utensils and products for such fast food giants as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway and Kentucky Fried Chicken, as well as national supermarket chains Walmart, BJ’s Wholesale and Target.

Fuling considered sites in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey, as well as five locations in Pennsylvania, but eventually chose the Lehigh Valley based on the region’s central location, convenient transportation, strong support network, public security and cooperation from local officials.

“They felt being in the Lehigh Valley was a great central location to move their product line into their primary marketplace, which is the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region,” Glembot said. “We’re very excited to welcome this company to the Lehigh Valley.”

CORE PA Global is 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.

The CORE PA Plastics & Energy Media Tour included journalists from the publications Plastics Technology Magazine (United States), Plast Panorama Scandinavia (Denmark), Modern Plastics India, Kunststof en Rubber (Netherlands) and Plastiques et Caoutchoucs (France). The tour also included stops in Williamsport, Montoursville, Pittston, Lehighton, Bloomsburg and New Berlin.

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