GPCA '10: Protectionism to curb Mideast’s petrochemical growth

08 December 2010 11:36  [Source: ICIS news]

Protectionism to curb Mideast petchem growthDUBAI (ICIS)--The recent rise in countries’ antidumping measures are likely to impede the growth and trade flows of petrochemicals from the Middle East, senior industry officials said on Wednesday.

While the Middle East is projected to supply up to 40% of Asia’s expected demand for petrochemicals in the medium term, protectionist measures could curb this outflow, said Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid al-Qasimi, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of foreign trade.

She was speaking at the fifth annual Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) forum in Dubai.

“A major challenge observed between 2009 and 2010 is the surge of protectionist measures from countries such as China, India and the EU to block imports,” the minister said.

India recently put tariffs on polypropylene (PP) shipments from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Singapore.

“We remain concerned about the potential impact of such measures on regional and global industry…We remain committed to free trade and expect all countries to abide by the [World Trade Organisation] rules,” Al-Qasimi added.

The increase in antidumping measures has grown in tandem with the recovery in the global economy, as economies with large export deficits create an environment conducive to protectionist measures, said SABIC CEO Mohamed al-Mady.

“The global recession has resulted in some voices now championing protectionism,” Al-Mady said.

“We should all be advocates of free trade,” he added.

Some 7m tonnes of ethylene capacity is to be added by 2015 in the region, which would account for 25% of the world’s total production, according to Al-Qasimi.

The GPCA forum runs from 7-9 December.

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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