Informations and abstract
To better understand the present situation of the Italian chemical industry it is necessary to analyse the most important changes occurred in the world chemical industry, studying the main causes and the consequences they can provoke to Italian companies. Nowadays the traditional big chemical company, with different divisions co-existing in an integrated model, is actually disappearing towards a more specialized company. It is also worth examining the chemical industry as a whole, avoiding to study only some sectors. An important role in the European chemical industry is played by SMEs, which are not only quantitatively important (more than 30.000, providing about 40 per cento of jobs and output), but also qualitatively as they are responsible for the spreading of chemical innovation to downstream users and they are more than simply sub-contractors as in other sectors. Finally it is necessary to understand how the Italian chemical industry (and European too) is conditioned by external factors linked to the competitiveness of country and European system (regulation and its application, infrastructures, energy, education and public research). The interest in supporting the chemical industry derives from its spreading technological innovation in the industrial system and from its companies' necessity to anticipate needs (in globalization, environmental prevention and innovation) which will become sooner or later common to the whole industrial system. From this approach a model of industrial competitiveness policy, based on horizontal actions (local, national and European) crossed with specific sectoral requirements, comes out.