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Europe's chemical industry calls for cooperation with US, following election

November 9, 2016
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Cefic and Germany’s chemical industry trade association VCI (Frankfurt) have reacted to the result of the elections in the United States with calls for cooperation between the European Union and the United States, and to continue the existing partnership in terms of democracy, security and the economy.

“Today we have again woken up in a world that will be different to what most people expected,” says Marco Mensink, director general/Cefic. “We have a new US president and, which is important, a Republican majority in both the US house and senate. “It’s far from clear today what the impact of this [result] will be. As we saw after Brexit, volatility on markets and uncertainty will prevail in the short term,” Mensink says. “The uncertainty is the key issue. What we do know is that both climate policy and international trade will operate in a very different environment,” he adds.

“There is much uncertainty about the course that the United States is going to take,” says Utz Tillmann, VCI director-general. “Irrespective of nationalistic and protectionist positions [expressed] during the election campaign, we hope that the incoming US president will build on the close political and economic ties between the European Union and the United States. We need a stable transatlantic cooperation in the major global issues of the future, for example, in trade, climate, and economic policies,” Tillmann says.

The United States is by far the biggest EU trading partner for chemicals, contributing almost 22% of total EU chemical trade in 2015. The European Union exported chemicals with a value of €31.3 billion to the United States in 2015, up by 26% compared with that in 2005. Chemicals worth €23.1 billion flowed in the opposite direction in 2015, an increase of 41.5% on that a decade ago. A similar picture exists for the German chemical industry, for which the United States is by far the most important export market of the German chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Germany earned just under €20 billion in trading with US customers in 2015. German chemical companies have about 140 subsidiaries with 71,000 staff in the United States, with sales of more than €61 billion.

US President-elect Donald Trump frequently expressed protectionist views in terms of trade, speaking out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement involving the United States and several other countries in the Pacific (but excluding China). The future of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is still being negotiated between the European Union and the United States, must now be in doubt.

By Michael Ravenscroft

Source: Chemical Week

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