China News in brief
Energy efficiency law approved
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) - China's legislature - has approved revisions to the country's Energy Saving Law that will require government departments and regional authorities to set and adhere to strict efficiency targets. The amended law, which will take effect from 1 April 2008, will require targets to be written into departmental plans and progress reported to parliament each year. In addition, energy savings plans will be needed for all major public spending projects. Li Mingzhi, deputy director of the economic law department of NPC, says the amendments allow the state to become a major player in China's energy efficiency drive. The bill also stipulates that firms could face fines of up to 200 000 yuan (US$27,000) if they fail to meet industry energy saving standards.
New drug manufacturing rules
The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) of China published updated good manufacturing practice (GMP) rules for the drug industry on 29 October, tightening up regulations unchanged since 1999. From 1 January 2008, the SFDA can refuse to approve the GMP applications of pharmaceutical firms if there are major flaws in their implementation plans. Previously, the agency could only demand that firms resubmit their applications. The amended rules also put more emphasis on personnel and quality control instead of on the standard of equipment or the scale of production. Luo Jiali, vice-president of China's leading drug exporter Hisun Pharmaceuticals, says the changes will bring China's GMP rules further into line with international norms and help Chinese pharmaceuticals to enter the global market.
ChemChina makes $2.75bn bid for Nufarm
A consortium consisting of the China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) and private equity firms Blackstone and Fox Paine Management has offered to pay nearly US$2.75 billion for Australian agricultural chemicals maker Nufarm, in a deal that would create the world's biggest generic farm chemicals company. Nufarm's board, which has backed the offer, announced that if the move is accepted at a general meeting of its shareholders on 10 December, the firm's fertilizer and farm chemicals business will be 100 per cent merged into ChemChina. According to analysts, the deal will help the State-owned company to establish a worldwide sales network for its agrochemical products. ChemChina was formed in 2004 from smaller firms that were part of the now defunct Ministry of Chemical Industry.