China’s chemical industry is entering a period of integration and selective growth

China is undergoing a huge transformation. China is no longer willing to be listed as a major source of pollution. It is implementing one of the most comprehensive sustainable development action plans in history-and the chemical industry will become the basis for turning this vision into reality. China’s chemical industry is entering a period of integration and selective growth. In order to comply with the planned environmental upgrade, both domestic and foreign companies will have to meet new environmental standards and deal with higher production costs. With the integration of domestic companies, foreign companies will face fiercer competition.

But environmental reform brings both opportunities and challenges. As environmental solutions are increasingly becoming a priority for China, providing greener and more sustainable chemical applications provides new opportunities for savvy Western companies to develop and secure their share in the world’s largest chemical market so far. window.
Chinese leaders headed by President Xi Jinping believe that environmental protection is the main driving force for China’s economic transformation and sustainable development. The “13th Five-Year Plan” (2016-2020) promotes sustainable economic development and has made strong commitments in environmental management and protection, clean energy, emission control, ecological protection and safety. In addition, with the introduction of the revised “Environmental Protection Law” on January 1, 2015, China’s environmental supervision and enforcement methods have fundamentally changed.

China’s regulatory environment is complex. Since 2013, China has promulgated a large number of environmental protection regulations and has continued to formulate new measures to further strengthen law enforcement. In 2017, China merged the previous government agencies into three departments responsible for environmental policy decision-making and implementation: the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, which is responsible for pollution control and climate change mitigation; the Ministry of Natural Resources, which is in charge of natural resource management and urban and rural planning; and the Ministry of Emergency Management. Responsible for formulating policies and mechanisms for managing emergencies.

Regulations affecting the chemical industry cover the entire industry value chain. For example, in the energy sector, China has pledged to reduce national consumption by 15% by 2020 compared to 2015. To achieve this goal, China is using market-based mechanisms such as the National Carbon Trading Program. China also plans to reduce national coal consumption, including coal consumption for chemical production. China’s goal is to reduce total coal consumption to 4.1 billion tons from the peak of 4.2 billion tons in 2013 by 2020.

Changes in regulations also affect production and maintenance, formulated products, warehousing and storage, and transportation. China has strengthened its review of chemical companies and increased the number of on-site inspections. It also limits the number of approvals for new factories and the number of permits for the transportation and storage of hazardous materials. The government has worked hard to close small factories. For example, starting from mid-2016, only caustic soda factories are allowed to move with the same or reduced production capacity. China intends to relocate chemical plants that produce hazardous chemicals from densely populated cities to industrial parks. Taking Shandong Province as an example, all chemical companies, especially those that produce hazardous chemicals and newly registered chemical companies, must relocate to qualified chemical parks before the end of 2018. In addition, Beijing has also improved its chemical management system and revised the “China REACH” (New Chemical Substance Notification), which affects all production activities and the import and export of new chemicals.
In terms of waste and emissions, the Chinese government has introduced new restrictive standards, including carbon emissions, polluting chemical waste gas, and industrial waste from the chemical production process. The goal is to reduce major air emissions to 2015 levels by 2020. China now also requires major emission countries to install automatic monitoring equipment and publish emission data. In April 2015, the State Council issued the “Water Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan”, which set a series of ambitious goals for 2030. The seven major river basins have achieved excellent water quality, eliminated the “black odor”, and the overall water quality of 95% of the urban point sources has reached Grade 3 or above. The main themes of the plan are industrial wastewater management, wastewater treatment, water reuse and enhanced monitoring.

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