June 16, 2003
Volume 81, Number 24
CENEAR 81 24 p. 8
ISSN 0009-2347


BUSINESS IN ASIA

CHINA RESTRICTS CHEMICAL IMPORTS
Duties are slapped on polyurethane, caprolactam, and phenol

JEAN-FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY

China, one of the world's largest importers of industrial chemicals, has completed several antidumping investigations targeting chemicals made abroad.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has imposed antidumping duties as high as 49% on toluene diisocyanate (TDI) imported from Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. Chinese customs will collect duties of up to 28% on caprolactam made in Japan, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia. Moreover, phenol from Japan, South Korea, the U.S., and Taiwan will face duties of up to 144%.

BASF, which has been ordered to pay duties of 28% on its TDI, is building--with local and foreign partners--a world-scale polyurethane complex in Shanghai that is due to go onstream in 2005. Bayer, which will have to pay 23% on its TDI, is also planning construction of a polyurethane complex to produce TDI, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, and polyols.

BASF's official reaction to the ruling was calm. "BASF has been and will continue to cooperate fully with Chinese authorities on the TDI antidumping cases," it said in a written statement. Company officials say privately that, in the past two years, they have been forced to deploy an increasing amount of resources to deal with trade issues in China.

Although it conducts relatively few antidumping investigations, China is becoming increasingly assertive in defending its market (C&EN, March 3, page 29). This is partly a reaction to trade barriers that Chinese products face abroad. Wang Hui, director of the Science & Technology Department of the Ministry of Commerce, said last week that China would make full use of World Trade Organization rules and retaliate against what it perceives as discriminatory and improper overseas technical barriers.



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