Pakistan has launched disputes proceedings at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) signalling it wants to challenge countervailing duties imposed by the European Union (EU) on Pakistani exports of certain polyethylene terephthalate (PET). In an unusual case brought by Pakistan against the EU, Islamabad is arguing that the European Commission mishandled an investigation prompting EU ministers to impose protective measures, compensating European PET-makers for Pakistan government tax breaks and subsidies. Pakistan, said a WTO noted, claims the “EU appears to have acted inconsistently” with the WTO’s Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement. Brussels claims Pakistan broke WTO rules by tying help for its PET makers to their export performance. Formal talks will now be held in Geneva. If they fail, a disputes panel may adjudicate the matter.

Other EU plastics industry news:

*The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has selected its final additional 65 substances to be assessed for safety under its Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) programme, including plastics ingredients. For instance, tetrabromophthalimide, and additive fire retardant that is added to polymer mixtures to produce a blend, and bis(2-ethylhexyl) tetrabromophthalate, a flame retardant found in polyurethane foam will be examined.

The new substances will be assessed by EU member state chemical experts between 2015 and 2017.

Full list of chemicals –

*ECHA has released documentation to help companies prepare for the next registration deadline under EU chemical control system REACH – May 31, 2018. This concerns chemical substances manufactured or imported in low volumes, of between one to 100 tonnes per year. Polymers are exempt from the process. See

*The European Commission has approved the full acquisition by Switzerland-based petrochemical and oil products company INEOS of the German styrene monomer, polystyrene and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene manufacturer Styrolution. INEOS had previously shared control of Styrolution with BASF.

*The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that the plastics additive N,N’-Bis(2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidinyl) isophthalamide can be used safely in food contact materials, so long as its migration into products does not exceed 5 mg/kg food. The additive is used in PET; polyamide (PA) inner layers in multilayers; and the ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) layer in polypropylene (PP)/EVOH/PP plus polyethylene (PE)/EVOH/PE laminates.

*EFSA has also declared safe in food contact materials furan-2,5-dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) with CAS No 3238-40-2 and FCM substance No 01031, when used as a monomer with ethylene glycol to produce polyethylene furanoate polyesters. Here manufacturers and packagers must ensure migration of the substance does not exceed 5 mg/kg food and of its oligomers, less than 1,000 Da does not exceed 50 µg/kg food (expressed as FDCA).