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Chemical Regulation in China and Europe: Font of Innovation?

Posted on April 19th, 2016 by in Chemical R&D


As regulations tighten in the chemical industry, the debate as to whether this hinders or encourages innovation rages. Recent examinations of the effects of the extensive REACh law appear to indicate that there may not be much impact at all. Though harsher regulations might have stifled some innovation by forcing companies to re-direct resources, the fact that companies have had to develop substitutes for toxic chemicals has increased innovative activity, evening out the impact.

China’s chemical industry, meanwhile, has not been so significantly affected by regulatory issues, at least not in the past. But that is changing as the Chinese people are demanding a greater reduction in pollution and serious attention to health concerns.

As the new whitepaper “Chemical Regulation in China and Europe: Font of Innovation?” illustrates, China has been establishing more regulations in the last few years, and the impact on innovation could range from increasing barriers for the use of new chemicals to creating pressure to reduce the current use of hazardous chemicals.

Many Chinese companies have simply ignored regulations up until now, but implementation is expected to be better enforced going forward. Some smaller companies may simply have to shut down as a result of this. The companies that choose to comply with regulations, though, will have these paths to consider:

  • Using existing equipment, such as air filters or water treatment plants that the company had to have to get licensed, but simply hasn’t been using due to costs
  • Upgrading equipment to remain compliant
  • Innovating incrementally by making small improvements, such as minor changes to production processes
  • Pursuing radical innovations, such as developing replacements for existing hazardous chemicals

Read the whitepaper to find out more about China’s chemicals industry, how foreign players should approach it, and ways that companies are currently looking to innovate.

To learn more, I encourage everyone to sign up to the upcoming webinar by Dr Kai Pflug on “China’s new 5 Year Plan and its Impact on Chemical Innovation” on Thursday, April 28th. It promises to be a really insightful session.

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