EPCA '13: EU-US trade deal will boost Europe chems: Cefic

08 October 2013 21:45  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--Cefic director general Hubert Mandery on Tuesday said if a free-trade partnership between the US and the EU was negotiated it would provide a major lift to Europe's petrochemcals industry.

“The gains are enormous,” Mandery said on the sidelines of the 47th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.

Not only would a trans-Atlantic trade pact provide a much-needed boost to economic recovery in both markets, especially in terms of growth and jobs, Mandery also reiterated trade group Cefic's view that such an agreement would include modern trade issues such as regulatory cooperation and other potential non-tariff barriers, leading to savings for both companies and authorities.

In a joint statement in February this year, US president Barack Obama, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy announced that, based on recommendations from the "United States-European Union High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth", both the US and EU will each initiate internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

When negotiations are completed, this comprehensive EU-US free-trade partnership would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated - Mandery said it could add 0.5-1.0% of GDP to both sides of the Atlantic annually.

Mandery said these negotiations are also important to the chemicals industry because the proposed TTIP would lead to the elimination of import duties on the €48bn ($65bn) worth of chemicals traded in 2012 between both markets. Those duties form a considerable input cost, amounting to €1.5bn, some of which concerns intra-company trade.

“The chemical industry is one of the most globalised sectors in the manufacturing world. Lots of the assets of our members are in the US and the other way round for the ACC,” he said.

He added the full elimination of all chemical tariffs should therefore be the ultimate goal.

“We would expect an ambitious agreement with Europe and the US to cover an energy chapter. And in an energy chapter we would like to reach stipulations which allow the free flow of LPG [liquefied petroleum gas], LNG [liquefied natural gas], oil and other gas being extracted in the US because that would have a huge impact on levelling the playing field,” he said.

The annual EPCA meeting runs from 5-9 October.

($1 = €0.74)

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

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