Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the regional umbrella organization of petrochemical and chemical producers in the region, has launched an initiative to challenge what it described as protectionist measures in the garb of anti-dumping procedures launched by China, India and the European Union (EU) against exports from countries in the region.
The GPCA’s strong statement today comes in the wake of recent moves by China and India against petrochemical exporters based in Saudi Arabia and Oman. China and India have sought to protect their domestic industries by initiating anti-dumping measures while more recently, the EU has launched anti-dumping cases against producers in the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
GPCA’s statement is significant as the association is the region’s voice on issues and challenges that face the petrochemical and chemical industry, which is a key pillar of the regional economies.
GPCA Secretary General Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun said the Association is concerned about the potential impact of these protectionist measures on the global petrochemical and chemical industry and the downstream consumers in China and India. “GPCA will strengthen coordination with GCC Governments to ensure that exports of petrochemicals and chemicals from the Gulf region are not restricted by anti-dumping regulations and other trade restrictions,” he said.
“The GCC industry and our governments will not accept the application of anti-dumping regulations against exports of petrochemicals and chemicals from the Gulf. We have seen a surge in protectionist actions brought by countries to block imports. These cases are baseless and violate international rules,” Al-Sadoun said.
As part of its initiative, GPCA will investigate and recommend specific actions that should be taken against trading partners that restrict GCC petrochemical and chemical exports. The anti-protectionist initiative will continue to be a key aspect of GPCA’s mandate for sharing information, analysing trends and giving a common voice to the GCC industry.
GPCA has instituted an Advocacy Committee that will adopt a system to alert members about anti-dumping cases and work closely with GCC governments and the GCC Secretariat to defend the regional industry against such unwarranted actions, Al-Sadoun said.
Al-Sadoun called for a working team comprising representatives of the GCC Secretariat, GCC ministries of foreign affairs, commerce and finance and GPCA to tackle the Chinese and Indian actions. He emphasised that China and India had no reason to pursue anti-dumping investigations on imports of petrochemical products from GCC countries.
Pointing out that China and India are low-cost producers of a wide range of downstream products that are exported to Gulf countries, Al-Sadoun said that it would be disastrous for those industries in the two countries if GCC countries applied anti-dumping regulations to such products.
The GPCA Secretary General asserted that the region is committed to protect its industry’s competitiveness. “Our demand is that all countries should respect WTO (World Trading Organization) rules. We have mobilized industry resources to monitor cases and to challenge protectionist measures, and we will work closely with GCC governments to protect our interests in foreign markets and in our own markets.”
Al-Sadoun said that producers in the region expect new challenges as the Gulf consolidates its position as the centre of gravity for the global industry. Recessions have historically brought sharp increases in trade remedy cases—anti-dumping (AD), countervailing duty (CVD), and safeguard proceedings— and recent developments indicate that this recession is not going to be very different. The global chemical industry is facing a new wave of protectionism in major global markets.
In June 2009, China’s Ministry of Commerce initiated an anti-dumping investigation with respect to imports of methanol and butanediol (BDO) from Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Indonesia. India's chemical industry has been a frequent user of anti-dumping claims and measures this year. As a result, anti-dumping duty has been levied provisionally in late July by India’s Ministry of Finance on polypropylene imports from Oman, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, pending the results of investigations underway. In September 2009, the EU launched anti-dumping cases against producers in the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
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