ICCA recognizes the role that both chemistry and international trade policy play in helping governments advance ambitious social, environmental, and economic agendas. We are focused on promoting market access for life-enhancing products and technologies, restoring functionality to the rules-based trade system, and sharing chemistry solutions with the countries that need them the most.

Promoting Global Chemicals Trade in the 21st Century

ICCA’s 164 members account for more than 98 percent of all global chemicals trade, contributing nearly $2 trillion to the global economy, and sourcing a wide range of critical downstream manufacturing value chains – from medical equipment, to automotive, to next generation energy production.

Free and open trade raises standards of living, lifts people out of poverty, and connects people and businesses with one another across the world. Free trade also fosters innovation in manufacturing and agriculture, while enabling governments, organizations, and workers to help make our world more sustainable and ensure greater prosperity for our children and future generations.

Prioritizing regulatory cooperation, adopting good regulatory practices, and enabling more efficient customs practices for chemicals will can help our industry foster even more job creation and positive impacts on sustainable development.

Chemicals as a Catalyst for WTO Reform

Over the past several years, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has struggled to keep pace with rapid economic, political, social, technological, commercial and environmental change. It faces challenges in advancing meaningful multilateral commitments from its members on further trade liberalization and emerging trade rules. Changes are needed to ensure that WTO members are living up to obligations, leading in enforcing trade rules, and maintaining the standard of free and fair trade.

As a long-time supporter of the WTO, the global chemicals industry has coalesced around a set of recommendations– based on concrete, practical solutions – which can help drive the conversation forward on WTO reform. ICCA’s recommendations are focused on restoring the WTO’s leadership, improving current functions, and advancing critical negotiations on emerging trade issues such as sustainability and climate. The paper was also the focus of a September 2021 WTO Public Forum session entitled, “Chemicals as a Catalyst for WTO Reform.” You can watch a recording of ICCA’s
session here.

Read ICCA’s September 2021 Letter to WTO Director-General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, regarding industry’s support for WTO reform.

Learn more about Trade and Sustainability.

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APEC Chemical Dialogue and Reducing Trade Barriers

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Chemical Dialogue is the premier regional, chemical-specific forum that 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 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.

Global Chemical Industry By The Numbers