In early November, the UK National Chemical Emergency Centre’s (NCEC) Rich Davey travelled to China and the Philippines to deliver presentations on the regulatory challenges facing the chemical industry in the Far East. Here, Rich reports back from his trip, exploring the impact of the changing regulatory landscape in Asia and presenting the value of tried and tested emergency response to support global supply chains.
Interesting times for regulation in China
It is an interesting time for the chemical industry in the Far East. Many countries have recently followed the EU in implementing individual ‘REACH-style’ actions to manage the manufacture and transport of chemicals. Increased regulation is a positive step towards improving safety and enhancing the competiveness of the global chemicals industry, however it also makes handling chemical goods across the region more complicated.
Added to this are the ongoing changes to auditing and assessment in the aftermath of August’s Tianjin explosion. To put this into context, reportedly over ten thousand companies in China have recently been asked to temporarily cease trading since August for a variety of safety and regulatory reasons.
It is fair to say that the rapid development of a more robust regulatory infrastructure across Asia reflects the speed at which the chemical market is growing. However, operating in this dynamic environment is challenging, and many companies struggle to keep pace with their regulatory obligations.
Regulatory trends across Asia
NCEC is privileged to have a strong working relationship with China’s National Registration Centre for Chemicals (NRCC) and is authorised to provide hazardous cargo emergency response support throughout China. As part of NCEC’s ongoing work in China, I kicked off November with a trip to Hangzhou to support our international partner REACH24H at China’s Regulatory Affairs Conference (CRAC). Attended by over 150 delegates, CRAC 2015 provided a platform for government officials, regulators, private sector multinationals and public sector bodies to share expertise on regional regulatory compliance and best practice.
To ensure delegates are best informed to minimise the risks of non-compliance, I was invited to deliver an overview of NCEC’s experience supporting its international clients throughout the region and the trends we are seeing in emergency response regulation.
One trend to emerge over the past few months is the move towards strict local number/local language requirements. China’s regulatory body is becoming one of the most stringent in the world in terms of the emergency telephone numbers required when transporting hazardous chemical materials. Exporters must ensure that a local Chinese emergency contact number is provided on all hazardous goods and that emergency response helplines are manned all times. NCEC provides 24 hour emergency response in 48 languages and, from our experience supporting companies in China, Chinese authorities are increasingly testing and enforcing these requirements.
After China I headed to the Philippines for the Asia Pacific Responsible Care Conference (APRCC) where I discussed the role of 24 hour chemical emergency response in meeting companies’ Responsible Care commitments. APRCC attracted 300 people from across government, trade associations and international chemical manufacturers, some whom are already world leaders in Responsible Care.
Responsible Care is a global initiative aimed at improving the health, safety and environmental performance of the chemical industry. To be part of the movement, companies must go further than simply meeting regulatory compliance and proactively demonstrate best in class services. My presentation focussed on the demands on chemical manufacturers and distributors to secure a responsible care profile, and the importance of ensuring that in-house or outsourced emergency services are robust, resilient and fit for purpose.
Supporting the global supply chain
To operate safely and legally in Asia, chemical exporters must meet a growing checklist of emergency response provisions. These include dedicated local contact numbers, liability insurance, multilingual coverage, global compliance and, obviously, experienced emergency responders able to provide comprehensive technical advice.
Multilingual 24 hour emergency response services such as NCEC provide world leading support that companies can tap into to secure international regulatory compliance. Today, the value of this service is recognised as a core component for stability and growth in chemical export, not only for regional operations, but for the global supply chain as a whole.
Find out how NCEC’s international and domestic emergency response services are supporting the chemical industry throughout the world at http://the-ncec.com/products-a-z-2/