05 October 2005 14:30 [Source: ICIS news]
FRANKFURT (ICIS news)--The German chemical industry is facing a number of challenges to its business, some of which the country’s next government could help solve, BASF chairman Jurgen Hambrecht said in his last speech as president of the chemical industry association VCI before handing over to Bayer’s Werner Wenning.
Speaking to the VCI general assembly in ?xml:namespace>
He conceded, however, that globalisation can be a threat if countries such as
The outgoing VCI president warned also that the German chemical industry is not hiring enough new post-docs, due in part to the weak economy and its increasing engagement abroad. But, he said: “We must give students a perspective.”
The energy policies of the current Social Democrat-Green government have been a thorn in the side of the chemical industry. Correcting this should be at the top of the new government’s agenda, Hambrecht suggested. Along with security of supply, he said competitiveness and a review of environmental policies are the key words here.
The government’s attempts to improve the environment through levies on industrial production have damaged German chemical companies’ competitiveness without improving the situation, said Hambrecht, while calling for an “international approach” to climate control.
The idea embraced in particular by the Green partner in the coalition government, that renewable raw materials are per se good and nuclear energy bad has not helped, nor has the lack of competition among energy providers, said the BASF chief. He added that lack of competition among energy providers has made the situation worse.
Whichever parties form the next government, certain things will not change for chemical producers, Hambrecht noted, while singling out the European Union's (EU’s) environmental policies as an added insult. Not only the German public tends to perceive chemicals production as a risk. This view is also prevalent in other countries and, especially in view of its approach to Reach, the European Parliament has contributed to the problem, he hinted.
In Hambrecht’s view, the chemical industry, in
Hambrecht called for the chemical industry to engage in an “open dialogue” with the political sector and the public. If the industry “displays openly” that it knows how to handle its products, this will reduce the pressure from the political side to consider stricter regulation, he said.In this respect, he called on VCI member companies to be of more help in getting the industry’s message across, in particular by becoming actively involved in the association’s campaigns, rather than just sending money.
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