Asia regulations round-up: September 2023

04 September 2023

Mini Pant Zachariah, Jens Kastner, Usher Daniele and Kathryn Wortley report on the changing regulations affecting Asia’s coatings industry


China’s key government economic body has released restrictions on the use of iron oxide pigments and titanium dioxide, the most important white pigment used in the coatings industry. In July (2023), China’s National Development and Reform Commission and related departments issued an updated Notice on Issuing the Energy Efficiency Benchmark Levels and Baseline Levels in Key Industrial Fields, with 11 additional controls, including 11 key areas including titanium dioxide (TiO2). These new restrictions cap ‘Energy Consumption Limits per Unit Product of Titanium Dioxide and Iron Oxide Pigment’. Enterprises handling titanium dioxide are required to complete technical changes respecting these limits or phase-out the use of these paint and coating ingredients before the end of 2026. 

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Philippine paint and coatings producers are set to benefit from a €466M (US$512M) payment scheme funded by the European Union (EU) to help the Philippines transition to a circular economy and adopt more green energy. The initiative will boost private sector investment and innovation, focusing on supporting businesses of all sizes, including in the chemical-related sectors, to have greener supply chain and production processes. The scheme was announced by the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos from the Philippines during a visit to the archipelago by the EU leader.

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Concerns voiced by Vietnamese builders that they are struggling to check whether their projects are sufficiently fire resistant have prompted Vietnam’s construction minister Nguyen Thanh Nghi, during the 15th National Assembly in June, to accept the construction ministry has not imposed regulations on fireproof paint. Currently, there are just two types of Vietnam-manufactured paints licensed as fire retardants, with no such foreign-made licensed. This, say constructors tightly limits their choices, forcing up prices. 

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Asia regulatory round-up: June 2023

Paint companies adapt to tightening environmental legislation

Number one in Asia: PPCJ speaks to Nippon Paint’s Gladys Goh


South Korea’s National Fire Agency in June (2023) released new ‘Detailed Standards for Dangerous Goods Safety Management’. It details, for example, test methods and criteria for oxidising solids, water-soluble substances and general ignition hazards. It also details, for example, a test on burning times that involves igniting objects on wood floors, which has implications for wood floor coatings. The new standards furthermore detail the measurement of the flash point of flammable liquids, which could impact coatings design and manufacture. 

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Taiwan Legislative Yuan (parliament) member Wu Qiming has convened a meeting between experts and officials on “on-site modulation of floor sound insulation buffer materials” to debate public health and environmental concerns over formaldehydes (used as wood preservatives) and volatile organic coatings (VOCs) and their impact on worker and resident health. The experts pointed out worries about how polyurethane coatings are mixed and poured as a sound insulation material on construction sites, which carries the risks of toxic gas emission and gas explosions. The experts recommended that PU coatings-application processes should be conducted in factories.

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The Japan Paint Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has translated into Japanese the World Coatings Council’s report, ‘Sustainability in the Global Paint & Coatings Industry’, which summarises the sustainability activities of 16 industrial association members and their respective members. The English version was published in December 2022 and the Japanese version was published in July (2023). The JPMA is also planning to publish a Japanese version of the World Coatings Council’s ‘Key Performance Indicators Guide for Sustainable Development Goals’, which was published in English in March (2023).  

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Thailand paint and coating manufacturers and importers are anticipating significant orders in the country from major public infrastructure projects, with the government approving three projects with a combined investment of about THB524bn (US$15bn). These include a high-speed railway line connecting three airports, the expansion of Suvarnabhumi International Airport and new deep seaport facilities.  

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The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has published a draft amended standard for surface cleansers that contain quaternary ammonium compounds (QUACs), which can include coatings. BIS is accepting comments on the draft until August 31 in this first revision since 1996, the requirements for total non-volatile matter, pH and QUAC content have been modified. Furthermore, the packing and marking clauses have been updated. QUACs are antibacterial agents used as preservatives, surfactants, antistatic agents and as active ingredients in disinfectants and sanitisers. Proposals include insisting that the manufacturer name, month and year of production, direction of use and mandatory warnings are printed on QUAC product labels.

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