01 August 2003 15:43 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Italy’s chemicals industry is seeking to convince its government that European Commission (EC) proposals for the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (Reach) is an issue best handled by the Italian competitiveness council rather than the environment council.
Federchimica will be presenting its arguments to officials from the Ministry of Industry and Environment in September at the association’s national conference in Rome.
“This is an industry matter and therefore very important to competitiveness,” Federchimica’s technical director Sergio Trechler told CNI on Friday.
Federchimica believes the EC's proposed new chemicals policy will penalise particularly the Italian chemical industry because of Italy’s high proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Data examined by Italy’s chemicals trade association showed that the impact of Reach will particularly hit fine chemicals and specialties, the sectors in which SMEs prevail and where Italian firms are significantly smaller than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe. The average size of Italian firms is half that of European ones.)
Federchimica estimates that almost 80% of total costs to the Italian chemicals industry resulting from the new policy will have to be paid by firms representing 20% of total chemical turnover. It explained that fixed costs are inversely proportional to the quantity produced, resulting in higher charges for SMEs.
Furthermore, up to 1.5m people within the industry in Italy could be put out of work as a direct consequence of the new policies, said the Italian trade association.
In a worst case scenario, depending on the number of substances registered and the level of bureaucracy involved, over a quarter of production in Italy could be lost compared with 23% across Europe. These figures were derived by applying a model developed by the German industry federation BDI to the Italian industrial structure. But Federchimica claimed that the effects on its members were 25% to 50% greater because of Italy's greater focus on those chemical sectors most affected.
Federchimica's arguments are included in a report submitted by the association to the European Commission (EC) as part of the industry's response to the Reach proposals. The EC's internet consultation period closed on 10 July.
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