Brazil chemical trade group warns deficit could hit $50bn

12 December 2012 23:06  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Brazil’s trade deficit in the chemical sector could reach $50bn unless the federal government adopts a number of structural reforms, the Brazilian Chemical Industry Association (Abiquim) said on Wednesday.

The concerns came after Abiquim disclosed this week that Brazil's chemical trade deficit in 2012 was expected to hit a record $28.1bn.

This compares to deficits of $26.5bn in 2011, $20.6bn in 2010 and $15.7bn in 2009, according to Abiquim figures.

“We cannot sit back and watch this deficit grow,” said Abiquim chairman Henri Slezynger.

“If market conditions and the competitiveness of companies that operate in the sector do not change, the value of the deficit could reach $50bn by 2020,” he said.

Abiquim has been negotiating with the Brazilian government since May to adopt a package of measures aimed at increasing the competitiveness of Brazilian chemicals.

Measures include a reduction in electricity tariffs, access to a long-term secure supply of competitively priced natural gas feedstock, lower interest rates and policies to encourage innovation.

Despite the deepening trade deficit, the sector will continue to invest, with expenditure expected to total $22bn between 2011 and 2016, Abiquim said.

By: Simon West

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