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ACC Testifies on U.S. Chemicals Industry Priorities for Potential U.S.-UK Trade Agreement

New Trade Agreement Could Eliminate Tariffs on $5.7 Billion in Two-Way Chemicals Trade, Reduce Costs and Create Efficiencies Through Greater Regulatory Cooperation

Andrew Fasoli

WASHINGTON (January 29, 2019) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) on Tuesday shared the U.S. chemical industry’s recommendations for a successful trade agreement with the United Kingdom (UK) should the UK be eligible to negotiate a trade deal following its scheduled withdrawal from the European Union in March. The UK, a longtime trading partner to U.S. chemicals manufacturers, imported $2.8 billion in U.S. chemicals in 2017 and serves as a regional hub for the globally integrated and efficient chemicals manufacturing supply chain. As evidence of that integration, a significant portion of the $5.7 billion in U.S.-UK chemicals trade is to related parties – 54 percent of chemical imports from the UK, and 39 percent of chemical exports.

“A trade agreement that eliminates U.S. tariffs on chemical imports from the UK could save U.S. chemical manufacturers $88 million per year,” Ed Brzytwa, ACC director of international trade, said in testimony before interagency officials at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). “Eliminating UK tariffs on chemical imports from the U.S. would reduce tariffs paid in the U.K by $84 million. The cost savings from the elimination of tariffs would help boost economic and job growth.”

Brzytwa also encouraged U.S. officials to work to eliminate the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the UK. “Any potential UK retaliatory tariffs targeting chemicals would limit the ability of U.S. chemical manufacturers to access the UK market,” Brzytwa said. “We also urge both countries to avoid imposing quotas of any kind on imports of UK steel and aluminum, which would impede the construction of chemical manufacturing plants in the United States.”

Earlier in January, ACC filed public comments which outlined several of its member companies’ priorities for a trade agreement with the UK. One of ACC’s stated priorities is to build on progress already made in talks related to regulatory cooperation during the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. “The goal of regulatory cooperation is to explore opportunities for creating efficiencies within and between regulatory systems while maintaining high levels of protection for human health and the environment,” Brzytwa said. “Regulatory cooperation should not undermine or weaken regulatory mandates. Rather, it can help to ensure that those mandates do not result in unnecessary barriers to trade.”

Brzytwa concluded his testimony with a call to both the U.S. and UK governments to work together to address trade-distorting practices by other countries. “ACC and its members stand ready to assist the Administration in the creation of a coalition of allies in the WTO to protect and enforce WTO trading principles around the globe.”

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.