European Commission proposes strategy to secure raw materials

02 February 2011 13:19  [Source: ICIS news]

EC introduces measures to fight price volatilityLONDON (ICIS)--The European Commission has proposed a series of measures to protect the EU against the volatility in commodity prices and to secure the access of raw materials, the EU executive body said on Wednesday.

The recent volatility in commodity prices threatened to increase inflation and global raw material markets, which were vital to Europe's industries, the Commission said.

Based on its Raw Materials Initiative, the Commission said its proposed measures would improve the regulation, functioning and transparency of financial and commodity markets, as well as ensure a fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from global markets.

“In order to secure supply of raw materials for the European industry for coming years, we need to link this policy with our reforms of the regulatory framework for financial markets,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

As part of an integrated approach, the Commission said it would undertake additional research on developments in financial and physical commodities markets, as well as develop bilateral cooperation with African countries in the area of raw materials.

In addition, a list of 14 critical raw materials, including fluorspar and the rare earths, which have already been identified by the European Commission, would be regularly updated, it added.

Industry body the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) said it supported the Commission's work to help Europe secure access to raw materials.

“Fair and secure access to natural resources is a central concern for the European chemical industry, which must have access to raw materials and is greatly impacted by artificial price or availability distortions,” Cefic said in a statement.

Cefic said it was concerned that countries rich in natural resources were increasingly introducing discriminatory practices, including double pricing and export restrictions, to limit availability of their raw materials to other markets.

Cefic added that stronger global governance was needed under the wing of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and that Europe must increase its use of bio-based materials, such as bio-ethanol, as feedstock for the chemicals industry.

“The Commission should extend the scope of the Raw Materials Initiative to these bio-based materials,” Cefic said.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry visit ICIS connect

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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