Providing the essentials
The European chemical industry is a €673 billion industry and the world’s top exporter and importer of chemicals, with a record €43.5 billion trade surplus in 2014.
As one of the largest and most diversified industries globally, the European chemical industry supplies virtually all sectors of the economy, providing innovative and sustainable solutions to today’s economic and environmental challenges. It plays a vital role in providing all manufacturing sectors, as well as the construction, health and agricultural sectors, with essential products and services. It has created wealth and employment for millions of European citizens over the years. In the European Union (EU), it is the leading manufacturing sector in terms of value added per employee.
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Taking on the challenge
As a key partner to the EU institutions, the European chemical industry strongly supports and implements the Europe 2020 targets. The industry is facilitating an economy based on knowledge and innovation to achieve smart growth, promoting more resource-efficient processes to achieve sustainable growth, and encouraging a high-employment economy throughout the value-chain to achieve inclusive growth.
Competition is fiercer than ever, especially from companies in Asia and the Middle East, which often have easier access to raw materials and a cheaper supply of energy and labour. However, the European chemical industry is more than a supplier of products, it is a provider of worldwide sustainable solutions. Examples include efficiencies made through recycling and water management processes, breakthroughs in materials created for sustainable building and transport, and developments in areas such as nanotechnology, advanced materials and biotechnology. The industry is benefiting from its historic advantages of innovation, long-standing customer relationships, an efficient network of SMEs and large companies and a highly-skilled workforce. This is why the European chemical industry is one of just a handful that has retained its place as a leader, even in times of global economic change.