Belgium's chem industry urges quick conclusion of US-EU trade deal

07 March 2014 15:31 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Belgium’s chemical industry is urging the US and the EU to quickly conclude a transatlantic free trade agreement, the country’s chemical producers’ group essencia said on Friday.

US and EU trade negotiators will meet next week for another round of talks on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

essencia said that Belgium's chemical industry is focused on foreign markets, with more than 75% of its output going into exports. The US ranks as the most important export market for Belgium-based chemical producers outside the EU.

Cooperation between the US and EU economies was essential, given the regions’ interdependence and the challenge they face from Asia's rising economic power, the group said.

"We encourage the rapid conclusion of an agreement that will provide access to the American energy market, remove inefficiencies, and eliminate tariffs on chemicals," said essencia managing director Yves Verschueren.

Those tariffs alone cost Belgium’s chemical industry about €300m/year, Verschueren said.

"The TTIP will have a significant impact on our competitiveness," he added.

The first round of TTIP negotiations took place in July last year. The EU has said that an agreement should be possible "within a couple of years."

By Stefan Baumgarten