European Chemical Industry – A Major Force under Threat? From food packaging to pharmaceuticals, the chemical industry plays a dominant role in today’s national and global economies. Developing and sustaining a local chemical industry, able to compete on a global scale, has both economic and political importance as the chemical industry supplies the full spectrum of Europe’s manufacturing industry with intermediate products.
In 2006 the European chemical industry comprised more than 30,000 firms, directly employed 1.9 million workers, and generated 2% of Europe’s gross national product (Source: Eurostat, 2007). Recent studies performed in the Rhine/Ruhr region indicate that one job in the chemical industry creates three additional jobs in the chemical-related sector.
Since 1990 the European chemical industry has been growing at an average rate of 2.8% per year, outstripping the European manufacturing industry which has grown by 1.6% in the same period. At the end of 2006 the industry had delivered a positive trade surplus of E 41.0 billion, up by 6% compared with 2005.