Last week BASF, Ineos Europe and Sasol Germany asked the European Union to review Article 11(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1225/2009 of 30 November 2009 – which adds duties to all ethanolamines shipped to Europe.
The three European chemicals producers argue that removal of the duty would “result in continuation of dumping [selling ethanolamines at less than cost] and continuation of injury to the union industry” citing the negative impact such importation has had on prices in Europe.
As a result of the request, the European import levy - which was due to expire last week - will remain in place for at least the next 15 months while the commission conducts its review.
According to a Bloomberg report the ethanolamine levy – which was introduced in 2000 and last reviewed in January 2010 – imposes a tax of €59.25 per tonne on Dow Chemical and a tariff of €111.25 on Huntsman.
BASF – which along with Ineos and Sasol hold half of the European market – will increase prices for monoethanolamine, diethanolamine and triethanolamine to €60 per tonne with immediate effect. The German firm also said it will revise prices on existing contracts in due course.
A BASF spokesman told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: "The reason for the price increase is among other reasons the increase in raw material costs. Relevant raw materials are ethylene and ammonia."
He declined to disclose what proportion of the ethanolamines BASF produces are sold to the drug industry.
BASF increased its ethanolamine prices twice in 2011, most recently in December.
Ethanolamines are used in a variety of industrial applications – in the construction, agrochemical manufacturing, cement production and gas processing.
Drugmakers use the compounds for the production of a wide range of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and the chemical intermediate 2-Dimethylaminoethyl chloride hydrochloride which is a made from dimethylaminoethanol.
According to EU figures quoted during the last ethanolamine review US firms’ share of the European market has fallen by around half to 12 per cent since 2005, with producers in Mexico, Iran, Russia and Taiwan seeing their stake increase from 4 to 7 per cent in the same period.