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Collaboration In Chemical Industry Essential To COVID-19 Response And Recovery

The APEC Chemical Dialogue, the premier forum for the chemical industry in the Asia-Pacific, strengthened cooperation on regulatory affairs in order to facilitate trade in essential goods and assist the recovery effort by APEC member economies by creating jobs and promoting sustainable development.

The Asia-Pacific region represents more than 45 percent of the global chemical manufacturing business or an equivalent of 7 percent of global gross domestic product. Of the 120 million jobs supported by the industry, more than 69 percent of them are in the Asia-Pacific, according to the American Chemistry Council.

“Chemicals are a critical part of many essential goods. In fact, 96 percent of all manufactured goods rely on chemistry,” said Sergio Barrientos, industry co-chair of the APEC Chemical Dialogue. “From masks and other personal protective equipment to hand sanitizer and crucial disinfectants, the chemical industry plays an essential role in producing important supplies in the fight against COVID-19,” he added.

Government and industry representatives convened virtually in early November and discussed top priorities in the chemicals sector as well as a plan of actions moving forward, including prioritizing collaboration between public and private sectors to develop innovative solutions for sustainable economic, and environmental and social development through the application of good regulatory practices.

Through its virtual working group, the APEC Chemical Dialogue forum advances APEC’s agenda on trade and investment by promoting regulatory alignment and convergence to the globally harmonised system of classification and labelling of chemicals and encouraging thesharing of information and best practices on the sound management of the industry.

“One of the key areas of interest in the forum is good regulatory practices,” said acting government co-chair, Renee Hancher. “When applied uniformly and consistently, good regulatory practices produce more effective and efficient regulatory outcomes, prevent unnecessary obstacles to trade caused by regulations and provide a more predictable regulatory environment that encourages trade and investment.”

The forum promotes cross-cutting collaboration to bolster development of and investment in innovative solutions to land-based waste management and ensure coherence on marine debris initiatives with the APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group and other APEC fora.

The forum recently reiterated their commitment to join the global effort in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 by providing essential materials needed to fight the pandemic, in the Asia-Pacific region as well as globally.

“Collaboration between industry and government drives a forward-thinking agenda and contributes to a more coherent regulatory environment for chemicals in the Asia-Pacific, promotes higher health, safety, and environment standards, and prevents barriers to trade,” Barrientos concluded.

For more information about the APEC Chemical Dialogue, visit this link.

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