Press releases

GPCA’s recommendations were published in a position paper released today in both English and Arabic language

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 12 April 2021 – The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) issued a list of recommendations for the modernization of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in line with supporting free and fair trade and enabling the regional chemical industry’s growth.

In a position paper released today GPCA praised the WTO’s vital role in supporting trade in commodities and goods across the world. However, it highlighted that the organization needs to do more to achieve multilateral commitments from its members on further trade liberalization and emerging trade rules.

GPCA went on to recommend that the WTO, of which all GCC states are members, should take proactive steps towards its modernization in several key areas, including: process (reform) and substance (negotiations); regulatory cooperation on chemical substances to prevent barriers to trade; trade agendas to support sustainability; improved transparency, and effective enforcement of commitments.

GPCA estimates that regional chemical export volume declined by 15% – 20% to 66-70 million tons in 2020, due to significant demand disruptions in chemical supply markets as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Off the back of increased demand and gradual economic recovery, regional chemical trade is expected to increase by up to 10% in terms of volume in 2021.

The chemical industry in the region still faces key barriers to trade including costly tariffs, unclear rules of origin, discrepancies between national legislations, multiple and differing standards, limited protection of trade secrets as well as trade defence measures. To realize its potential and ensure its sustainable growth, the industry requires an enabling legal framework, and free access to global markets, which means the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers. No organization is better placed than the WTO to act as conduit of free and fair trade and enable consistent and compliant trade practices between countries.

Dr. Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA, commented, “Ensuring the uninterrupted supply of chemicals to the world is a key imperative for global and regional leaders, as chemicals serve as key building blocks to scores of products and materials we use every day, and cater to many end-user industries. From healthcare to food packaging, to construction, transportation, and many more, chemical trade is an important enabler for socio-economic development.

“I am pleased to announce that GPCA has joined peer associations to develop a position paper which highlights the importance of a modernized and fully functioning World Trade Organization. The paper comes at just the right time – as global free trade comes under a growing threat in countries across the world and trade protectionism is on the rise – and we call on the WTO to fulfill its mandate in supporting and prioritizing a multilateral approach to trade. I would like to thank the GPCA’s International Trade Committee (ITC) for working closely with the Secretariat to develop this position paper.”

Download position paper here.