Chemicals industry a 'motor' of EU manufacturing - Commission

10 October 2012 17:27  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The chemicals industry has been described as one of the key drivers of EU manufacturing growth in a report issued by the European Commission on Wednesday.

Entitled ‘Industrial Policy Communication Update: A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery’, the policy report identifies the chemicals sector as “one of the motors of the EU manufacturing industry” on the back of its international prominence and capacity to add value to other industries.

The EU chemicals industry has a 24% share of the world chemicals market, according to the Commission.

As many of the products produced by the sector are utilised as inputs for other industries, a healthy chemicals industry stands to improve the competitiveness of a range of other EU manufacturing sectors, the Commission said.

“The [chemicals] sector has enormous potential to improve both the competitiveness and environmental performance of other downstream industries through innovation in substances and materials,” the report said.

The Commission identified the prioritisation of sectors such as clean and bio-based products, strengthening the EU regulatory environment for business, improving access to finance for SMEs, and ensuring that the region’s workforce has the skills to meet the demands of employers, as key priorities for developing the EU manufacturing sector.

The industry is also well-placed to find solutions for social issues such as the development of renewable materials and reducing water usage, the Commission said.

Industry body Cefic has welcomed the report, but called for the prioritisation of energy and environmental policies to assist in the development of the EU’s manufacturing sector.

Cefic director Hubert Mandery said: “The communication acknowledges the need for a strong manufacturing sector in Europe, which we applaud. The goal to increase manufacturing’s share to 20% of EU gross domestic product is ambitious and achievable”.

“All in all, the communication addresses the right elements of a 21st century industrial policy for Europe, but only if related policy such as energy, climate change or environment policies are aligned with this goal,” he added.

The full report can be read here.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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