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BASF to build chemical plant in Chongqing
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BASF said Wednesday it would build a multibillion-dollar chemical project in the large southwestern city of Chongqing, despite the fears of some Chinese environmentalists and residents.

BASF has the experience and technology to ensure the environmental safety of the Chongqing MDI plant, said Tilman Krauch, president of BASF's Regional Functions and Country Management, Asia Pacific, at Wednesday's press conference to publish the company's first report on its economic, environmental and social performances in Greater China.

Krauch mentioned a similar project in Antwerp, Belgium, as a successful example of how BASF has been able to ensure environmental safety for a large chemical plant in a river's catchment area, which is also a densely-populated area.

Johnny Kwan, senior vice president of the BASF Group and chairman of the BASF Greater China Country Board, said the public can surf the BASF website or call company officials directly to raise concerns and questions.

He denied that the report has been made in relation to the current public pressure over environmental concerns.

"BASF has always kept on watching economic, environmental and social issues, and now we believe it's time to publish such a report to make company activities more transparent to the public," said Kwan.

The report is aimed to enhance its transparency in Greater China by reporting annually on seven key financial, social and environmental indicators: sales, number of employees, occupational safety, water, waste, emissions to air, and energy consumption, according to company officials.

Since the 1990s, BASF has invested more than 2 billion euro (2.78 billion U.S. dollars) in the Greater China area, with major investments coming on stream in Nanjing and Shanghai from 2005.

In related developments, the Chinese government has approved an extension program for the BASF-YPC joint venture project in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

The company's report claimed in 2008 emissions of greenhouse gases from BASF's chemical operations in Greater China was 1.8 million tonnes, down 5.2 percent from 2007, while its energy efficiency increased by 50 percent between 2002 and 2008.

The company said it is one of the biggest foreign investors in the Chinese chemical industry. BASF has about 6,300 employees in Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, and posted sales of about 4.2 billion euro in 2008.

The company added that it operates 19 BASF wholly-owned subsidiaries and 10 BASF joint ventures in Greater China. BASF posted sales of more than 62 billion euro in 2008 and had approximately 97,000 employees worldwide as of the end of 2008.

(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2009)

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