China News in brief



Sinopec to sink $5bn in Indonesian biofuels 

Sinopec, China's second largest oil company, is to invest US$5 billion in Indonesia to establish biofuel plantations and manufacturing plants, according to a 22 January report from Antara, Indonesia's national news agency. The deal would see Indonesian firm PT Puri Usaha Kencana and Sinopec extract biodiesel from crude palm oil and jatropha curcas oil in Indonesia's Papua and East Kalimantan regions. According to Al Hilal Hamdi, the head of Indonesia's national biofuels task force, the project is expected to get underway this year. Sinopec has so far not confirmed the deal. 

Separately, the Chinese Communist Party's Disciplinary Committee announced on 22 January that Chen Tonghai, former general manager of Sinopec, is to face charges of corruption and of taking bribes amounting to nearly US$40 million. 

SFDA strengthens drug export rules 

China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) is to publish a catalogue of 10 medicines that will be subject to special scrutiny as part of range of measures to toughen up drug exports, SFDA chief Shao Mingli has said at the agency's annual meeting.  

Shao did not identify the 10 medicines but said that, as well as securing the normal licenses and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certification for their drugs, manufacturers of the catalogued medicines could, if necessary, be monitored and supervised by local branches of the SFDA. 

Shao also said that SFDA will tighten up approval of new drugs and manufacturing licenses to help eliminate any sub-standard smaller players among China's 4000 pharmaceutical manufacturers. 

DuPont opens fluoropolymer plant in China 

Dupont's new fluoropolymer production plant in the eastern Chinese city of Changshu has started work, the chemical giant reported on 29 January. At a cost of US$80 million, the factory is one of a series of investments that Dupont has made as part of a plan to double its investment in China to US$1.4 billion by 2010. 

The plant produces polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fine-powder and dispersion mainly for users in the Asia-Pacific region, including car, clothing and chemical manufacturers as well as the aviation and kitchenware industries. 

The Changshu plant is the fourth DuPont facility that has used so-called Echelon technology to produce low-PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) aqueous fluoropolymer dispersions. PFOA - a key processing agent in making nonstick and stain-resistant materials - has been linked to cancer and birth defects in animals.