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April, 2025
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Say goodbye 2022 and say hello to 2023! Pay attention to major trends and events in the global carton packaging industry!

The following trends and events are summarized according to the analysis and reports of Global Printing and Packaging Industry, China Paper Journal and other industry media.

01 The first international standard in the paper industry led by China was officially released

On October 18, the international standard of ISO 187:2022 Paper, board and pulps —Standard atmosphere for conditioning and testing and procedure for monitoring the atmosphere and conditioning of samples, which was led by the China Paper and Paper Institute, was officially released.

This standard is the first international standard in the paper industry led by China, and it is also the standard project managed by Chinese experts as the convener of the ISO working group in the paper industry for the first time.

ISO 187 was approved by the "International Organization for Standardization: Technical Committee on Paper, Board and Pulps - Subcommittee on Test Methods and Quality Specifications for Paper and Board" (ISO/TC6/SC2) in 2019. Since conditioning of samples and standard atmospheric conditions are the basis for inspection and detection, the standard has been widely participated in by international peers in the process of formulation, including many experts from China, Germany, Spain, France, the United States, Italy, Sweden and other countries. During the implementation of the project, the China National Pulp and Paper Research Institute (CNPPRI) has organized and held many international working meetings online to discuss the technical content of the standard, coordinate the opinions of experts from various countries and vote at various stages, and ensure the timely release of ISO 187: 2022.

02 The provisional tax rate of goods under 70 tariff codes of paper industry will fall sharply in 2023

On December 28, the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council issued an announcement (Announcement No. 11 of the Tax Commission, 2022) that, according to the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Import and Export Duties and relevant provisions, the import and export tariffs of some commodities will be adjusted from January 1, 2023.


Among them, 1020 commodities (excluding tariff quota commodities) are subject to temporary import tax rates. The temporary tax rates of commodities under 70 tariff codes of paper products will be significantly reduced in 2023, and some products will be directly reduced to "zero"!

The adjustment of import and export tariffs is a measure to boost the economy and international trade and realize the promise of tax reduction. However, the reduction of import tariffs will lead to the decline of import costs and prices of some paper products, which will have a great impact on the domestic industry and some product markets.


03 The epidemic has a great impact on China's paper industry

In 2022, the epidemic situation will continue to have a major impact on the overall situation of the paper industry. During this year, a large-scale of the industry was shut down, resulting in a sharp decline in corporate profits and an increase in the scope of losses; The growth rate of production and consumption decreased significantly, and the inventory of products increased significantly; Many major exhibitions, forums and other large-scale activities in the industry failed to be held within the year; Several large projects failed to advance as scheduled.

The continuous and repeated epidemic has brought great impact on China's social economy and living order, and has brought great challenges to the development of the industry. However, in the face of pressure and challenges, China's paper industry, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, is struggling to move forward. This year, many new policies, regulations and standards were implemented, and many new scientific and technological achievements and new products were emerging. At the same time, the implementation of the dual-carbon strategy was accelerated, energy efficiency and water efficiency were improved, and new momentum was gathered for the high-quality development of the industry.

04 China's paper demand slows down

For many years, China has been the largest participant in the pulp and paper industry, and it is still so - but in 2022, its demand has been some slowdown. China's COVID-19 zero clearing policy has had a negative impact on demand, with the prices of OCC and cardboard falling to the lowest level in two years. China's policy of prohibiting the import of recycled paper (RCP) of unclassified waste paper and its ban on the import of OCC also continue to affect its market.


The OCC export of the United States has shifted from China to export, and the import of some commodity pulp grades has remained unchanged or decreased, such as kraft pulp and refined pulp. Therefore, other Southeast Asian countries also benefited from it, as can be seen from the historical new capacity in 2022.


In addition, many large companies are considering or have withdrawn production from China. For example, at the beginning of December 2022, Apple accelerated its plan to transfer part of its production outside China. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is telling its suppliers to more actively plan to assemble Apple products in other parts of Asia, especially in India and Vietnam, and seeking to reduce its dependence on Taiwan's assemblers led by Foxconn Technology Group, which is one of the company's main suppliers and the operator of the world's largest iPhone factory in China.

05 Pay more attention to ESG initiatives

Environmental and sustainable development initiatives continue to influence corporate and policy-level decisions, and the impetus behind these efforts will continue to exist. Although EU countries are leading a lot of legislative work, other countries and major international brands have announced major sustainable development initiatives or have taken actions to achieve carbon neutrality as early as 2030, and the transition from plastics to the end of plastic pollution. These trends will continue to create significant opportunities for paper makers in the next decade. The following is a brief overview of some of the various initiatives that took place in 2022:


Earlier in 2022, heads of state, ministers of environment and other representatives from 175 countries adopted a historic resolution at the United Nations Environment Conference held in Nairobi to end plastic pollution by the end of 2024 and reach an internationally legally binding agreement.

• FEFCO (European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers) announced the launch of a climate-neutral road map implemented by Climate.

• At the beginning of December 2022, the European Union reached an agreement to levy taxes on imported products according to the greenhouse gases emitted by manufacturing them, and for the first time incorporated climate change regulation into global trade rules.

• Ben and Jerry's joined the Pack4Good program, which promised to give priority to the use of paper packaging to reduce the damage to global forests. The company said that it would give priority to less influential solutions focusing on reducing waste and adopting next-generation innovation in packaging.

• Green Bay Factory of Green Bay Packaging has achieved net zero water use in the production of 100% recycled carton paper - this is the first UL (global safety leader, establishing the first global industrial standard of the same industry) to verify this environmental statement.


06 Increase investment in "Industry 4.0" technologies

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution. Generally speaking, it describes the growth trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technology and processes. Industry 4.0 technology is built on nine pillars - big data is one of them. According to Business Research of Fortune, the global industry 4.0 market size in 2021 is 114.55 billion US dollars, which is expected to increase from 130.9 billion US dollars in 2022 (a year-on-year increase of 14%) to 377.3 billion US dollars in 2029, with a CAGR of 16.3% during the forecast period. As BDO explained in its 2021 Industry 4.0 survey, it is not surprising that those enterprises that adopted the Industry 4.0 strategy before the epidemic can better mitigate supply chain disruption and prepare for growth compared with those with lower degree of digitalization. This means that investing in Industry 4.0 technology (which has been the case for the past few years) when entering an uncertain period is more likely to predict the company's success than unnecessary costs. We see some examples of companies investing in Industry 4.0 related technologies in 2022, including:


• Metsa cardboard uses AI, because several of its factories have begun to use AI in various ways.

• Kimberly has created and filled a new role related to technological progress - Chief Digital Technology Officer. This role reflects Kimberly's increasing focus on digital technology in building brands and creating differentiated capabilities for the company.

• The software developed by ESCO can more easily realize digitalization, automation and connection to overcome today's packaging business challenges.

• Desma and IBM jointly developed AI solutions to improve the quality of recycled paper.

• Metsa Paper and CollectiveCrunch are committed to developing an AI application for identifying storms and pests.

Looking forward to 2023! In the new year, under the influence of multiple factors such as structural adjustment, the transformation of new and old kinetic energy, and the upgrading of digitalization and intelligence, the packaging and printing industry has emerged five new trends that deserve the attention of industry insiders.

01 China-Chic packaging design may become a new trend

In 2023, with the increasing improvement of the quality of Chinese goods and the aesthetic appreciation of design, China-Chic packaging design has an inherent tacit match with consumers' national self-confidence and cultural identity, which makes it easier for consumers to love it. In addition, pseudo Japanese brands such as Yuanqi Forest and Na-Yuki also began to use China-Chic style packaging design to gain the favor of young people.

02 On-demand packaging & non-prefabricated cartons may become a new trend

With the transformation of the terminal industry to personalized customization, the traditional packaging method also faces new challenges. The traditional method of mass production cannot meet the needs of customers. The concept of "on-demand packaging" was first put forward and developed rapidly in western developed countries. Among them, the On Demand Packaging proposed by PACKSZIE ® was the most mature and leading. It has led a global packaging revolution. In addition, on demand packaging can help enterprises solve their number-one packaging problem that is over-packaging.

03 Pulp-molding packaging leads the trend of low-carbon environmental protection

In 2023, the new category represented by pul- molding packaging will gain more development space by virtue of its low-carbon and environment-friendly characteristics. Max Burgers, a Swedish fast food chain, has launched Lipid in all its restaurants, which is a fiber coffee cover made of the fiber forming technology of the packaging brand PulPac. Lipid is a dry-molded lid with a carbon footprint of 80% lower than other lid alternatives. This innovative climate intelligent design is located inside the cup rather than outside the cup, thus saving 25% of raw materials. Costa Coffee, a British coffee brand, is trying to implement a similar solution in its 150 stores, which may be promoted in all 2500 stores in the UK, thus reducing the carbon footprint of the current polystyrene plastic cover by 50%.

04 Bright colors and interesting images lead the packaging design trend

The packaging design trend in 2023 reflects various reactions to the current situation: inflation intensification, global war and climate crisis. Therefore, packaging design aesthetics portrays optimism and enthusiasm through a large number of bright colors and interesting images to enhance consumer comfort. Although there are various styles, it is certain that these packaging design trends are forming an interesting, bright and interesting symbol.

05 Can packaging is emerging

According to IRI data, the use of can packaging is increasing year by year, showing a momentum of growth. So, what kind of can packaging design can get the "favor" of consumers? For example, for beer, although bottled beer is still the main packaging and continues to rise, canned beer is coming from behind, not only its proportion in the packaging is slowly increasing, but also its growth rate is faster than bottled beer. Wine has the same trend. In addition, it is expected that metal cans will also be the first choice of functional beverage packaging for a long time in the future.