Chinaplas: Rigid enforcement of environmental restrictions disrupts plastic additive supply chain

China’s crackdown on errant polluters that started in 2016 is affecting the global supply chain for plastic additives according to sources at the recent Chinaplas show in Shanghai.

Whereas in the past, enforcement of environmental emission standards was implemented by local governments, and therefore lax given companies are a key source of local tax revenue and employment, it is now conducted by the Chinese central government and regulations are being strictly enforced.

Companies manufacturing plastic additives and the raw materials commonly used in their production can, at the whim of a government official, be ordered to shut down for months on end, or forcibly be relocated to distant chemical industry parks.

“What we are seeing is the same industrial path that the US and EU took in the 1970s and 1980s, but it’s happening a lot quicker,” notes Irfaan Foster, General Commercial Manager at Addivant.

“The additive industry in China is highly fragmented, and with growth slowing they also need to export more,” adds Foster, “But many companies don’t possess the economies of scale to be REACH-compliant, meaning they need to step out of the European market.

And with K-REACH now implemented in South Korea, they...

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