The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) has set up a new umbrella group to represent the fine chemicals industry and provide forum to tackle the volatile environment facing the sector.
The European Fine Chemicals Group, which was presented for the first time at the CPhI meeting, is intended as a voice for the industry and will encompass Cefic's existing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Committee.
Peter Nagler, president of Degussa's Exclusive Synthesis & Catalysis business, told journalists at a press launch that the group has been formed with the express aim of tackling business issues that affect the sector, such as the controversial REACH legislation, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and the threat of Asian competition to Europe's API suppliers.
The latter topic was the subject of a passionate plea by Hovione chief executive Guy Villax, who feels the European API manufacturing sector is being crippled by inequalities in requirements for GMP standards.
APIC will continue to exist and fulfil its role in providing technical leadership to the industry, he stressed.
"We don't want to sit and wait before reacting to new issues affecting the sector, as it may have occurred with REACH," said Nagler, and a key aim will be to develop an effective lobbying force that can tackle this type of development earlier. An early task of the EFCG will be an attempt to secure a workable REACH system.
"We want to make better use of existing lobbying resources across Europe by linking with other national trade groups and beyond." This will involve dialogue with the European Commission, the pharma and agrochem business communities and on European organization such as the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA), he noted.
The EFCG has an initial membership of 24 companies and industry associations, and this is expected to grow to the 50-60 level by the end of next year.
Pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals account for 70 per cent of the total €23 billion in fine chemical sales in Europe.