China: BASF — leather chemicals

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  • based on the updated version of theproposals, came up with a total costestimate of 7.5 bn, including 2 bnfor the direct costs of tests andregistration. According to the lateststudy, downstream users of chemicalswould face cost increases of 2.8-5.2bn, as a result of higher prices andthe difficulty of substituting forchemicals that had to be withdrawn.No allowance has been made for theinevitable increase in testing costsresulting from the fact that the existingshortage of testing facilities within theEU would be greatly exacerbated ifthe proposed legislation came intoforce. On the positive side, the EUCommissions latest study claims thatthe total health benefits of the newlegislation could be as much as 50bn over 30 years. The Commissionalso believes that the legislation couldultimately boost the competitiveposition of the EU chemical industry,assuming that health and safetyregulators in the US, Japan andelsewhere follow the EU lead intightening up the laws.

    Towards the end of September,political debate on the REACHproposals escalated following thepublication of a joint letter by MessrsJacques Chirac, Gerhard Schrderand Tony Blair, respectively thepolitical leaders of France, Germanyand the UK. In the letter, addressed toMr Romano Prodi (President of theEU Commission), they stated: Wemust ensure that the proposals do notdisadvantage legitimate EU businessinterests in the global market byimposing requirements which are notpertinent to protecting health and theenvironment. The draft laws are toobureaucratic and unnecessarilycomplicated. The Commission shouldalso ensure that the CompetitivenessCouncil plays an effective role in thehandling of this legislation. Mr EggertVoscherau (President of CEFIC, theEuropean chemical industryfederation) commented: TheEuropean industry and its customershave been waiting for these significantwords. They clearly support thecompetitiveness of the chemicalindustry in Europe.

    On the other hand, environmentalcampaigners fervently believe that thelatest set of REACH proposals do notgo far enough. On behalf of Friends ofthe Earth, Dr Michael Warhurst said:The contamination of our bodies by

    risky chemicals will not be stopped bythe current Chemicals White Paper.This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunityto protect future generations and ourown. The Environment Ministers mustignore the short-term and profit-obsessed lobbying of the chemicalindustry and act to get rid ofchemicals that contaminate ourbodies.

    So, the stage is set for a veryimportant meeting of the EUCommissioners on 29 October.Following publication of their finaldraft proposals, the REACH Directivewill be debated by the EuropeanParliament and will then requireratification from the individual memberstates of the EU. The relevantlegislation is unlikely to come intoforce until 2007/08 at the earliest.

    Reg Adams

    PLANTSBrazil: Imerys/RCC kaolin

    In May 2003, Rio Capim Caulim(RCC) completed the expansion of itskaolin operations in northern Brazil,raising capacity from 600,000tonnes/y to 850,000 tonnes/y. RCC ispart of the Imerys group.Industrial Minerals, Sep 2003, (432), 24-25

    China: BASF leather chemicals

    BASF Colorants & Chemicals (awholly-owned subsidiary within theBASF group) has begun work on aproject to raise its capacity inShanghai for making synthetic tanningand dispersing agents from 4000tonnes/y to 14,000 tonnes/y. Part ofthe project entails installing a newspray-drying tower, so that productscan be manufactured in powder form.The whole project should be completedby the end of 2003 and it will result inthe creation of 20 new jobs.

    BASF already has a strong positionin the Chinese market for synthetictanning and dispersing agents inpowder form. The extended capacityat the Shanghai site will satisfy thecontinuously increasing demand inthis growing market and will safeguardthe long-term continuity of supplies toBASFs customers throughout Asia.Synthetic tanning and dispersing

    agents are used worldwide in theproduction of leather and furs.Tanning agents are marketed by thebusiness unit Performance Chemicalsfor Leather under the Basyntan andRelugan trademarks, while dispersingagents are marketed under the Tamoltrademark.Press release from: BASF Group, Germany. Website:http://www.basf.de (5 Aug 2003)

    China: Blue Star Xinghuo & Cabot silica white

    The New Materials unit part of theBlue Star Xinghuo Chemical Worksgroup has signed an agreementwith Cabot Corp, whereby Cabot willbuild a 5000 tonnes/y gaseous-phasesilica white plant at the XinghuoChemical Industry Zone.

    Blue Star Xinghuo is already thelargest organosilicone producer inAsia, with a capacity of 70,000tonnes/y of organosilicone monomer.It plans to spend Rmb 1.6 bn to builda new 130,000 tonnes/yorganosilicone monomer unit, whichshould be ready by 2005.APCJ, Asia Pacific Coatings Journal, Aug 2003, 16 (4),12

    China: DyStar textile colorants

    Production in China currently accountsfor 20% of DyStars global productionof textile colorants and the companyis planning to raise this to 40%. Thisinvolves trebling capacity at the Wuxiplant to 12,000 t.p.a. by early 2004.When it was established in 1999, theWuxi plant included facilities formaking Dianix disperse dyes andRemazol reactive dyes. Oncompletion of the current project,Indanthren vat dyes and Astrazoncationic dyes will also be produced atWuxi.

    As part of its commitment to theChinese market, DyStar opened anew customer service centre inShanghai on 16 September 2003.China already accounts for 39% of thetotal dyestuffs market in Asia and thisis expected to rise to 43% by 2006.

    DyStar is owned 35% by Bayer,35% by Aventis and 30% by BASF.Sales revenue was reported as 910M for full-year 2002, of which Asianmarkets accounted for 35%. The

    2 OCTOBER 2003

    F O C U S O N P I G M E N T S

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