24 March 2002 01:10 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNI)--Latin American petrochemicals producers must strengthen their regional alliances such as Mercosur in order to compete more effectively in the globalised economy, a leading Latin American industry official said here Saturday.
Graciela Gonzalez Rosas, executive director of the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) told CNI today that in the wake of the global chemical industry downturn and amid political and economic instability within Latin America, it is all the more necessary for producers to enhance the collective strengths represented by Mercosur.
Mercosur groups Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in a customs and trade union.
"We need to strengthen the Mercosur group," Gonzalez Rosas said, "so that Mercosur can work in co-operation with the European Union (EU) and Nafta to more effectively market our region’s petrochemical products. If they operate by themselves in isolation, our companies and countries alone are not strong enough to compete in the global market."
She said Latin American petrochemical producers "have suffered from the effects of globalisation, chiefly in the form of mergers and acquisitions." Latin American petrochemicals producers, she said, "are troubled by political instability and economic uncertainty in the region."
In particular, she said, Argentina’s ongoing economic crisis "is inhibiting the industry’s growth."
Gonzalez Rosas also noted that LatAm producers suffer not only from the region’s own difficulties but from the recession in the US and elsewhere.
"We are looking for a recovery," Gonzalez Rosas said, "but we in Latin America usually follow the US recovery by a quarter or two. So if the US recovery comes in the third and fourth quarters this year, Latin America will see recovery in the first and second quarters of 2003."
"First the US," she said, "then us."
Gonzalez Rosas was interviewed today on the eve of the 27th annual International Petrochemicals Conference (IPC), which begins here Sunday.
Sponsored by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the IPC runs through Tuesday.
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