Ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and a host of Pacific Rim countries should wrap up this year, the White House says in its annual trade policy report to Congress. The Administration also expects to make significant progress on a separate accord being negotiated with the European Union. The two agreements would spur domestic job growth by knocking down high duties and nontariff barriers against U.S. products, according to the report. “These agreements are critical to opening markets, eliminating barriers, and establishing rules for trade so the U.S. remains competitive in the global marketplace,” says William E. Allmond IV, vice president of government and public relations at the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, a trade group representing specialty chemical companies. Major growth areas in the specialty chemical sector are in emerging regions such as Asia because of an increase in manufacturing in those regions, Allmond notes. The chemical industry also stands to benefit from a free-trade agreement with the 28-nation EU. In 2012, more than $1 billion in duties was assessed on U.S. chemical exports to the EU, including nearly $600 million on shipments of organic chemicals.