Sinopec, PetroChina seek AD probe on Korea chems

05 December 2008 08:13  [Source: ICIS news]

By Chow Bee Lin

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Chinese petrochemical majors Sinopec and PetroChina have lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Commerce against South Korean exports, seeking an anti-dumping (AD) investigation on a range of petrochemical products, a Sinopec source said on Friday.

“The complaint is directed at a range of Korean products, including polymers and aromatics,” the source said.

He declined to reveal the full list of products implicated.

China is the largest importer within Asia of aromatics products like toluene and solvent grade xylene for its domestic solvents and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) markets.

In 2007, China imported about 30,000-40,000 tonnes/month of toluene, with the largest exporter in northeast Asia being South Korea.

“It’s possible that an investigation will be initiated and subsequently implemented, as both the companies are major suppliers in China,” said an east China-based importer of toluene and mixed xylenes.

But the news has sparked concerns among some Chinese importers whose main supply comes from South Korea.

“This is not good news for the importers,” said a second east China-based trader of toluene and mixed xylenes. “This would obviously have a big impact on our businesses,” he added.

South Korea is also a major exporter of a wide range of other petrochemicals, including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), paraxylene (PX), acetone and phenol.

Chinese purified terephthalic acid (PTA) producers such as Sinopec, Hualian Sunshine Petrochemical, Xiang Lu Petrochemical and Yisheng Petrochemical have earlier lodged a similar complaint against Korean PTA imports as prices fell sharply in a span of just about five months.

PTA prices were at $570/tonne (€450/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) China in November compared to just above $1,200/tonne CFR China in July.

Investigations are understood to be ongoing with no clear verdict.

Paraxylene, the feedstock for PTA, was not included in any anti-dumping complaints, said a Sinopec source.

China has already imposed anti-dumping duties on TDI, phenol, acetone and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

($1 = €0.79)

Mahua Chakravarty and Salmon Aidan Lee contribued to this article.

For more on PE, PP, toluene, xylene, benzene, PX, PTA  visit ICIS chemical intelligence

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By: Chow Bee Lin
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