By Malini Hariharan
One of the biggest concerns for Middle East producers is the rise in trade protectionism. And their worries are justified.
The European Union announced yesterday provisional anti-dumping duties (ADD) on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) imports from UAE, Iran and Pakistan.
Besides ADD, the EU has also introduced a provisional countervailing duty or anti-subsidy duty.
The duties range from Euro83.64 to Euro142.97 depending on the origin of the material.
Pic source: www.thegeographyofhope.com
The tariff on PET is the latest on a growing list of products that have attracted anti-dumping investigations.
And it also follows a collapse in free trade area (FTA) talks between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Media reports state that subsidies on petrochemical feedstocks had become a sticking point in the two-decade long negotiations.
"The biggest issue is subsidies for petrochemicals and other sectors that are based on cheap energy in the region. The Europeans have to realize that this is the region's competitive advantage," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Frans.
But what the Europeans and other around the world are looking for is a level playing field.