Asia regulatory round-up: June 2023

06 June 2023

Ahmed Pathoni, Jens Kastner, Poorna Rodrigo and Mini Pant Zachariah report on the latest regulatory updates from Asia


The Indonesian government is drafting a regulation to ban lead-based paints in the country, Markus Winarto, the Secretary-General of the Indonesian Paint Manufacturers Association (APCI) has told PPCJ. The government has been under pressure from environmental health activists to take this step – one already taken in the Philippines, for example, but is facing some difficulties in finding alternatives for certain applications, such as road markings and anti-corrosion coatings, said Winarto. 

This restriction would come as paint and coating industry manufacturers are struggling to comply with a government’s policy of increasing Indonesia-made products in public procurement, said Winarto.  This policy requires that products have a minimum domestic content and a national standard certification (SNI – Standar Nasional Indonesia) to be eligible for use in publicly-funded construction and maintenance projects.  “However, many paint manufacturers find it hard to meet these requirements due to the lack of local raw materials suppliers, testing laboratories, and affordable certification fees,” said Winarto. 

But if they can, money can be made. The government has allocated Indonesia Rupiah IDR392trn (US$27bn) for infrastructure spending in 2023, which covers projects such as building housing, roads, bridges, railways, airports and energy installations. 


Paint and coatings companies in Malaysia are also being encouraged to take advantage of a construction boom by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, which reported that the value of construction work undertaken nationwide in the third quarter of 2022 rose 23.2% compared with the same quarter of 2021, reaching Malaysian Ringgit MYR30.5bn (US$6.8bn). The growth was driven by construction projects for residential and non-residential buildings, and civil engineering, said the department. 


A ‘List of New Pollutants for Key Control (2023 Edition)’ has come into force across mainland China, with 14 types of new pollutants included in this list, some affecting the paint and coating sector. These include short-chain chlorinated paraffins, which are used as binding agents for coatings. Among the other new pollutants with relevance for the coatings sector are pentachlorophenol (fungicide for wood) and perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride (PFOS, used for water-and oil proofing of textiles, carpets and paper). Under relevant regulations, environmental risk management and control measures such as prohibition, restriction, and emission limitation must be adopted for these chemicals. 


Market report: The Philippines set to make a strong comeback

North Africa: Egypt and Tunisia hold long-term promise for paint and coatings sector

East Africa: Kenya pushes ahead as east Africa’s paint sector powerhouse


Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency in April issued revised manufacturing guidance – ‘Air Pollution Control and Emission Standards for Volatile Organic Compounds in the Polyurethane Coating Industry’. The chemical is used as a clear varnish and cosmetic coating. The new guidance limits the concentration of volatile organic compounds in manufacturers’ discharge pipelines and standardises the installation of gas-gathering facilities at production plants. There is a two-year buffer period for existing operators to make required environmental improvements to production.  


The [South] Korea Consumer Agency has hailed coating durability for frying pans sold in South Korea. The abrasion resistance of 8 out of 13 coatings was declared excellent after agency researchers rubbed selected pans 3,000 times with a steel wool brush. None of the tested pans were deemed unsafe in terms of harmful substances in the coating. No release of endocrine disrupting chemicals was detected. The best performing brands were Dorco (South Korea), Elo (Germany) and Homeplus (Korea).  


The Australian government’s department of health has published 17 draft evaluation statements on 1,768 industrial chemicals to assess their risk to human health and the environment, said a note published on March 23. The review includes chemicals used in paint, coatings and thinners, such as polymers with pendant acrylates, aniline and salts, benzene, 1-chloro-4-(trifluoromethyl), cresyl phosphates and xylyl phosphates, triphenyl phosphate and diphenyl phosphate and propyl and butyl phenols, among others.  


The Indian government laid down certification deadlines for 10 substances used in the paint industry under a Quality Control Order (QCO). The regulation requires substances concerned to carry the certification mark of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). These affected chemicals are: morpholine (August 1, 2023); methanol, aniline and acetic acid (August 3, 2023); gamma picoline, beta picoline, potassium carbonate, acetone, sodium triphosphate and pyridine (September 13, 2023). 

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