Asian paint and coatings regulatory round-up: December 2023

06 December 2023

Jens Kastner, Poorna Rodrigo, Mini Pant Zachariah and Ahmad Pathoni report for PPCJ on the latest regulations updates from China, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, South Korea and New Zealand – including how New Zealand plans to slash lead content in paints

New Zealand 

The New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has called for comments on planned reductions to allowable lead levels in paints and in art materials, such as chalk, crayons and felt-tip pens.  

The country’s current lead level limit for paint is 0.1% (1,000 parts per million/ppm) and the proposed changes would reduce this to 0.009% (90ppm), in line with countries including Australia, Canada and the United States, the EPA said in a note. Submissions close on January 26, 2024. New Zealand’s current loose limit brackets its controls with those of Algeria Armenia Belarus, China for (vehicle and industrial coatings) and Cuba.


China’s Belt and Road Initiative has facilitated China’s first sulphuric acid titanium dioxide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) overseas project. Signed between a China National Chemical Corporation subsidiary and the Nyanza Company, of South Africa, at the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in Beijing in October (2023). The project includes developing a plant within South Africa making key paint ingredient titanium dioxide (with an annual output of 80,000 tonnes), a sulphuric acid plant (used to make paint strippers) with an annual output of 300,000 tonnes, plus auxiliary facilities and public works. The project adopts Chinese standards and domestically produced equipment. After the project is completed, it will become South Africa’s first modern sulfuric acid/titanium dioxide manufacturer.  


The Taiwan Architecture and Building Centre (TABC), a bridge between the private sector and the government, and an institution for testing, evaluating and promoting new construction technologies, has backed a new test method for testing the flame/fire resistance of fire-retardant coatings for construction. The TABC found that the new Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection test will not warp test processes and results.  


Market report: Automotive coatings in Pakistan

South Korea

South Korea’s environment ministry has announced a strategy to reduce regulatory costs associated with its K-REACH chemical control system – amending related implementing legislation. The ministry is targeting chemical registration costs, adjusting the registration standard for new chemical substances, which is currently “companies using more than 0.1 tonnes per year”, to more than 1 tonne per year. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with low handling volumes can be exempted from regulations such as on handling facility standards and regular inspections or receiving relaxed regulations through risk-proportional regulations.   


India’s department of chemicals and petrochemicals has delayed the enforcement date for a quality control order (QCO) regarding six fatty acids used by the paint, coatings and ink industry, from October 24, 2023, to April 24, 2024. These fatty acids include lauric acid, acid oil, palm fatty acids, rice bran fatty acid, coconut fatty acid and hydrogenated rice bran fatty acids. The Quality Control Order is the regulation that requires named substances to carry the certification mark of the Bureau of Indian Standards.  


The chairman of the Indonesian Paint Manufacturers Association (APCI – Asosiasi Produsen Cat Indonesia) has said the construction of the country’s new national capital on Borneo – called Nusantara – will significantly boost sustainable paint and coating consumption. “Indonesia is working on large-scale infrastructure projects to modernise and restructure the country, including relocating the capital to East Kalimantan,” Kris Rianto Adidarma said. He stressed how the industry will have to meet tight environmental and sustainability standards because the government wants Nusantara – scheduled for final completion in 2045 – to be a net-zero carbon city. “The prospects will be very good for the latest paint technology that meets the concept of being renewable and more environmentally friendly,” he said. 


Nippon Paint Malaysia has said it will benefit from a new Malaysian government programme to allocate Malaysian Ringgit MYR5bn (US$1.18 bn) in its 2023 budget for subsidising and funding housing schemes for lower-income groups. Welcoming the move by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, the paint major said this would help boost sluggish growth for the Malaysian construction sector, which has prompted a paint industry focus on maintenance products. 

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