Anti dumping investigation on m-cresol imports from USA, EU, and Japan strikes Chinese vitamin E industry slightly 08-16-2019

On July 29, 2019, the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China issued an official announcement, deciding to conduct an anti-dumping investigation on imports of m-cresol (customs code 29071211) originating from the United States, the European Union, and Japan.

It is reported that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce received an application from Anhui Haihua Chemical Technoloy Co.,Ltd. on June 20, 2019, where an anti-dumping investigation on m-cresol imports from the USA, EU, and Japan was claimed to make. The application was accepted and the case is under investigation.

The news sparked a lot of concerns in related industries. On July 29, Zhejiang Medicine Co., Ltd. expressed on an interactive platform called “Quanjing Network” that the company has been paying close attention to the case and has taken some positive measures accordingly against the impact that the case exerts to the company somehow. At present, the company's m-cresol is mainly purchased from domestic sources and partially imported from abroad. Hence, there is no problem to meet the production needs. However, m-cresol is normally in short supply in the market. Provided that its prices increase, the production costs of vitamin E in the company will be affected certainly but only to a low extent.


M-cresol, regarded as an important fine chemical, plays a vital role in vitamin E industry

M-cresol normally emerges as a colourless liquid or a pale yellow liquid at room temperature. As a combustible chemical, the odorous liquid is slightly soluble in water but completely soluble in ethanol, diethyl ether and sodium hydroxide.

Considered as an important fine chemical, m-cresol can be utilized to produce vitamin E, fenitrothion, fenthion, permethrin, antioxidant CA, dye DPA, resin plasticizer, photographic developer, thymol, and menthol. What’s more, m-cresol is widely used in the fields of medicine, pesticide, antioxygen, dye, perfume, fungicide and antimold.

The chemical especially plays a vital role in the vitamin industry as it is the main raw material for the production of the key intermediate in vitamin E. According to official statistics, the annual demand of m-cresol for producing vitamin E in China gets to about 12,000 tons, among which around 50% comes from imports and the rest is sourced from domestic producers.


China, as a main producer and supplier of fine chemical intermediates in the world, sees a bright future in the related industries

China is considered as a major manufacturer and supplier of fine chemical intermediates for worldwide markets. The fine chemical intermediates industry in China is believed to carry a wide prospect in its development.

Apart from M-cresol, intermediates including 1, 2, 4 – trichlorobenzene, o-cresol, catechol, and nonylphenol are the most important pesticide intermediates in the market. 1, 2, 4 – trichlorobenzene serves a main element during the production of pesticides like dicamba, sulphenone, sodium pentachlorphenate as well as pentachlorophenol. O-cresol is mostly used to synthetize highly effective herbicides. Catechol is a significant intermediate for new carbamate pesticides with low toxicity and high efficiency, such as carbofuran, propoxur and diethofencarb. Nonylphenol is actually a multipurpose nonionic surfactant that can be widely used for pesticide emulsifier. M-cresol is mainly utilized in the synthesis of pesticides and insecticides.

For the sake of the development and application of its down-stream products, 1, 2, 4 – trichlorobenzene has been in great demand over the world in recent years. Besides, Due to the restriction of the pesticide, Lindane, in developed countries and regions, the raw material of trichlorobenzene and the production of organochlorine products have been gradually reduced. All these facts lead to a tight supply of trichlorobenzene, especially 1, 2, 4 – trichlorobenzene, which instead provides an opportunity for the development of 1, 2, 4 – trichlorobenzene in China.

What’s more, new carbamate insecticides made from catechol such as carbofuran, propoxur and diethofencarb are recommended as the excellent insecticides against family pests and stored product insects by the World Health Organisation. Hence, the demand for catechol is also increasing.

Nonylphenol is regarded as the most important intermediate in the petrochemical industry and the organic synthesis industry, which keeps the chemical in sustainable demand.

As for the market demand of M-cresol, its rate of growth averages 8% to 10% per year, which points out a stable development of the chemical.

For more information about China’s vitamins market, please have a look at our monthly newsletter Vitamins China E-News.

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