US trade group praises passage of free trade agreements

14 October 2011 21:54  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will be a boon for country’s chemicals sector, an industry group said on Friday.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said the treaties could represent hundreds of millions of dollars in potential chemical exports.

The US shipped out more than $171bn (€123bn) in chemicals in 2010, making up more than 10% of the country’s exports, the ACC said.

Of that number, $6.18bn went to South Korea; $2.26bn went to Colombia and $458m went to Panama, the ACC said.

“American jobs depend on access to important markets,” said ACC president and CEO Cal Dooley. “The free trade agreements will ensure that access and strengthen our industry’s competitiveness and job creation.”

ACC senior director of global affairs Greg Skelton said exports to South Korea are expected to increase dramatically.

“South Korea is currently the 10th largest export market,” he said. “We certainly expect them to move up the list.”

From 2008–2010 about $892m in duties were paid on chemical products to the South Korea, according to the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).

The ACC's Skelton said the treaties bolster the US’s competitive position in the global marketplace, given the massive natural gas reserves that are coming out of shale formations across the country.

“Natural gas is a feedstock, as well as a power source,” he said. “Now with these free trade agreements we see really positive benefits going forward.”

($1 = €0.72)

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Bobbie Clark
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