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Live from GlobalChem: SOCMA CEO on how to compete globally, celebrating the Year of Chemistry

The U.S. chemical industry must rely on innovation to stay competitive in global markets, said Larry Sloan, president and CEO of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates. He told the audience at GlobalChem in Baltimore this week that the industry is facing increasing competition from overseas businesses, who are not always subject to the same level of compliance in their home countries as U.S. companies.

“Our industry is an innovative one by nature. American manufacturers can compete as long as they have market access and the knowledge of how to comply with various regulations,” Sloan said.

An estimated 60% of growth will occur in the Asia Pacific in the next 10 years, so it is vital that U.S. companies expand their reach there, he said. To do so, SOCMA supports market access agreements and helps its member companies keep up to date on regulatory happenings through its International Regulatory Compliance Network.

Increased communication throughout the industry is part of the theme of the International Year of Chemistry, Chemical Heritage Foundation President and CEO  Thomas Tritton said at the conference. Efforts mean not just increased communications within the industry, but reaching out to the public as well, he said.

“Focusing a large number of people’s attention on a single substance encourages people that might not do so learn about new things, to exchange ideas in territories that might unfamiliar to them, and generally raise the level of thoughtful engagement with the world,” Tritton said.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation is telling its members to get out of their labs and reach out to the public. This is important, he said, because nearly a third of Americans say that they are not well informed about scientific matters, and less than 15% say that they are well informed, according to a recent survey.

Madeleine Jacobs, executive director and CEO of the American Chemical Society, said her organization is also encouraging a public outreach effort for IYC.

“We don’t our members talking to each other, we want them talking to the PTAs … we want them talking to their book clubs, we want them talking¬† about it on Facebook to their families,” she said.