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McClatchy-Tribune  05/30/2014 6:52 AM ET
Fuling Plastics to open first U.S. plant in Lehigh County [Reading Eagle, Pa. :: ]

May 30--A Chinese plastics manufacturer will expand its operations into the Lehigh Valley.

Taizhou Fuling Plastics Co. Ltd. will begin operations in October out of an existing 88,000-square-foot facility in Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County. It is the company's first U.S. plant and part of $21.3 million investment.

"It's really a big development for the Lehigh Valley," said Stephen Althouse, spokesman for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. "The region has a long manufacturing history, and it's leading the way in having a Chinese company making products here for U.S. consumers."

Fuling, which has three plants in China, is expected to employ 75 at the Upper Macungie site that will be located at 6690 Grant Way, which is adjacent to both Interstate 78 and Route 100.

It will manufacture plastic tableware and kitchenware, which it already sells to McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Subway and KFC. Fuling also makes plastic products for big-box chains such as Wal-Mart and Target.

"It is hard to find an American who has never used Fuling products," CEO Xin Fu Hu said in a press release.

The Lehigh Valley location is expected to help greatly decrease shipping costs as Fuling already has a distribution warehouse in Montgomeryville, Montgomery County.

"It has increased volume in the U.S. and shipping everything from China has become much more expensive," Althouse said. "Moving their products all that distance doesn't make sense anymore."

Fuling chose a Pennsylvania location over sites in New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The state Department of Community and Economic Development helped with incentives that included a $33,750 guaranteed free training grant for workforce development; a $150,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant; and $150,000 in job-creation tax credits.

According to DCED spokeswoman Lyndsay Kensinger, Fuling has accepted the proposal but has still yet to apply for each loan and grant. Fuling is also eligible to apply for a Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund loan of $1.875 million.

Contact Evan Jones: 610-371-5066 or ejones@readingeagle.com

 

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