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APEC Chemical Dialogue: Critical For the Success of Chemical Manufacturers

Next week, a diverse group on industry, government, and international trade and environment experts will convene in the city of Puerto Varas for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Chemical Dialogue. This premier regional, chemical-specific forum aims to strengthen cooperation between government authorities, industry, and trade stakeholders in order to foster innovation, promote high standards of protection for human health and safety, and the environment, and prevent barriers to trade. 

The Chemical Dialogue Is Critical to the Success of Chemical Manufacturers

The chemical industry plays a crucial role in most sectors of regional economies, which has led to innovative, life-enhancing products and technologies that not only support the global economy, but also help people live longer, healthier, more sustainable lives. In 2017, the chemical industry contributed $5.7 trillion to global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to seven percent of the world’s GDP. The Asia-Pacific chemical industry made the largest annual contribution of $2.6 trillion and supported 83 million jobs. The ability of this industry to trade is essential to economies all over the world. Over two-thirds of APEC chemical trade is intra-regional, with reported exports valued at $2.9 trillion and reported imports valued at $3.0 trillion from 2011 to 2015.

Given the relative importance of the chemical industry to the global economy and to the Asia-Pacific, it is imperative that governments and industry cooperate with one another on key trade and regulatory policy issues. The APEC CD helps the chemical industry work with governments and stakeholders to:

  • Prevent barriers to trade through regulatory cooperation, adoption of good regulatory practices, and alignment of customs practices for chemicals.
  • Promote greater alignment and enhance implementation of the UN Globally Harmonized System of Chemical Classification and Labels (GHS).
  • Address emerging issues such as marine debris and waste management of plastic.
  • Build capacity on risk assessment and risk management for chemical substances in real-world circumstances.

This year, the APEC CD is shining a spotlight on regulatory cooperation in Latin America, with Chile hosting more than 200 APEC Forum meetings. The August 23-25 APEC Chemical Dialogue meetings will include a Latin America Regulatory Cooperation Forum, in which regulators and industry from Latin America will interface with government and industry representatives in the CD.

This Forum is an opportunity for Chemical Dialogue members to learn from the regulatory cooperation work of Argentina and Brazil; ongoing regulatory developments in those markets, Colombia, and Uruguay; and methods for cooperation not yet considered in the CD. The Latin American regulators and industry will learn more about the CD’s agenda, priorities, and work product, and make connections and establish networks they would not otherwise make. Lessons learned from this forum and identify additional regulatory cooperation tools that the CD could promote in the future.

In addition, as the host economy for 2019, Chile has chosen priority areas to achieve concrete deliverables, which directly affect the chemical industry:

  • Integration 4.0: Economies in the Asia-Pacific are increasingly integrating and developing policy approaches to advancing the 4th Industrial Revolution. Chile’s Integration 4.0 priority focuses on regional integration through reduction of trade frictions and facilitation trade at, across, and behind the border. This focus provides opportunities for chemical manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific to promote greater cooperation among chemical regulations and regulatory convergence as a means of further integration.
  • Sustainable Growth: We live in a world of an ever-growing population with increasing demands but limited resource. By fostering sustainable development practices, contributing to innovation, and driving progress across all three dimensions of sustainable development – environmental, social, and economic – the chemical industry is helping the world overcome its most pressing sustainability challenges.

Chemistry plays a vital role in the creation of innovative, life-enhancing products and technologies that not only support the global economy, but also help people live longer, healthier, more sustainable lives. By prioritizing regulatory cooperation, adopting good regulatory practices, and aligning customs practices for chemicals, the Chemical Dialogue is not only helping to energize economic growth and job creation, but also ensuring that the products and processes made possible by chemistry can make substantial, positive impacts on global sustainable development.

Want to know more? Download this fact sheet.

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