Paper And Cardboard Industry

The paper and paper products industry is the branch of industry that includes manufacturing of cellulose, wood pulp mainly from various wood species and small amounts from annual plants such as jute, hemp, cane, as well as various mechanical and chemical processes stages for recycling another raw product, waste paper obtained by recycling used papers (also defined as scrap or old paper) into paper. Paper-Cardboard groups are classified in two main groups in the international literature: cultural and industrial papers. The paper and paper products manufacturing industry constitutes the group number 17 in NACE 2 sector classifications. This group includes pulp, paper and cardboard manufacturing, as well as paper and cardboard products manufacturing.


The world paper and pulp industry consists of approximately 5,000 paper and pulp facilities and small businesses as much as that amount. The paper industry, which is a capital-intensive medium technology sector, has an important place in the daily life of the world and countries' economy with its production volume of around $ 400 billion, foreign trade volume of approximately $ 340 billion and its use in almost every aspect of life. The environmental impact of paper production is also of great importance beyond its economic value due to the fact that it uses cellulose as the primary input, and its raw material is mostly wood and due to the processes in the production process.

World paper and cardboard products production continues to increase steadily and gradually. Sub-product groups in the production of paper and cardboard products in the world show different development trends. Packaging and label papers, which are the product group with the highest production volume, show a development above the general growth.

The developments in the consumption of paper and cardboard products in the world occur differently in sub-product groups and shape the differentiation in production. Packaging and label papers, which are the product group with the highest consumption, have shown significant progress. Another product group with an increase in demand and consumption is household and cleaning papers.

China ranks first in the world paper and paper products production. China is followed by the USA, and Japan and Germany are the other two important producer countries in terms of production capacity and production.

Brazil, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Russia and Indonesia are among the important producer countries in the world paper industry with their rich forest assets. South Korea is an important producer country despite its limited resources. While Italy, France, Spain, England and Austria are other important producers in Europe, Mexico has reached a significant production capacity and production.

The largest market in the world consumption of paper and products is China. However, the rate of increase in consumption fluctuates in China. The second largest market is the USA, with Japan, Germany and India constituting the other major markets. While consumption in South Korea increases gradually, consumption in Brazil, the 8th largest market, is decreasing. There is a rapid increase in consumption in Mexico.

There are many influential players on the export side of the world paper foreign trade, and there is no leading country in the sector. China's past growth rate is remarkable, but its growth rate is decreasing now. World paper trade is in a general stagnation. Besides, the export concentration is low. Due to the stagnation trend in the global paper trade, competition is getting more intense in export markets.

Chart 1– World Paper and Cardboard Export

Source: Trademap

  • World paper and cardboard industry export in 2019 is $ 170.2 billion.
  • Major countries in export: China with 12.8% share, Germany with 12.1% share and USA with 8.8% share.
  • Turkey ranks 23rd with $ 1.8 billion. 

Chart 2– World Paper and Cardboard Import

Source: Trademap

  • World paper and cardboard industry import in 2019 is $ 169.6 billion.
  • Major Countries in Import: USA with 10.2% share, Germany with 8.2% share and France with 5% share.
  • Turkey ranks 16th with $ 2.5 billion.


  • Paper industry in Turkey within the modern understanding was founded in 1934 in Izmit by Sümerbank. The company started its operations in 1936 with the name “Sümerbank Selüloz Sanayii Müessesesi (Sümerbank Cellulose Industry Organization)" in 1955, it was transformed into a state organization affiliated to Ministry of Industry and named “Türkiye Selüloz ve Kağıt Fabrikaları İşletmesi Genel Müdürlüğü (SEKA- Turkey Cellulose and Paper Factory Business General Directorate”.
  • In the paper industry, which is a capital-intensive sector, the private sector entered the paper industry in the 1960s and investments in it accelerated in the 1970s.
  • Private sector organizations started to produce in modern factories with large capacity following this year.
  • The highest production volume in the sector is carried out in corrugated fibreboard. A significant part of corrugated fibreboard production is concentrated in the Marmara and Aegean Regions. Corrugated fibreboard sector in Turkey has a highly competitive position in terms of production technology. Turkey has the 6th largest production capacity in Europe after Germany, Italy, France, the UK and Spain. The sector which presents around 97% of its production to the domestic market, has reached European standards in terms of quality.
  • Cleaning paper sector in Turkey which is showing rapid development in recent years has an exporting structure. In terms of production capacity, Turkey is Europe's 6th largest manufacturer of cleaning paper.
  • Turkey's paper export markets vary considerably. The most important markets of the sector are the close and neighbouring countries, EU countries, Middle East as well as North and Central Asian countries.
  • In 2019, the sector's exports is $ 2.4 billion. (7.3% increase)
  • Iraq, the UK, Iran, Israel, Greece, Egypt, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia and Azerbaijan are the most important markets.

Chart 3– Turkey’s Paper and Cardboard Export

Source: The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)

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