Ludwigshafen. Germany-BASF AG inaugurated an 8000-tonnes-per-annum polyisocyanates plant at the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park in Caojing, near Shanghai, People's Republic of China, on 20 March. The products, offered under the Basonat tradename, are used in the manufacture of coatings for the automotive, industrial and wood-treatment industries.The plant will serve the entire Asia-Pacific market, a BASF statement added. The German firm broke ground for two other plants in Pudong, also near Shanghai, one for 30 ktpa polyacrylate polymers and the other for about 12 ktpa of specialty chemicals for leather tanning."Our investments in performance chemicals products at Caojing and Pudong will further strengthen our close partnership with our customers especially in Asia Pacific," said Patrick Prévost, President of BASF's Performance Chemicals division, ina prepared statement issued 20 March. "By investing in additional local production capacity we will be able to react more flexibly to fast changing market conditions and to supply our customers more reliably with short lead time," he added."The chemical market in Asia Pacific is the world's largest and is expected to grow 4 to 4.5 percent annually through 2015," said Wolfgang Hapke, president of market and business development, BASF Asia Pacific, in the statement. "Our new manufacturing facilities in Shanghai give us an excellent competitive edge to participate in the rapid growth of the chemical industry in the region," he claimed, adding "we are now moving even closer to our goal of achieving 20 percent of group sales in the chemicals businesses in Asia Pacific by 2010, with 70 percent coming from local production."* Separately, BASF said it is adding 10 kt to its annual capacity for neopentylglycol (NPG) at its Ludwigshafen site. The capacity increase is due to a growing demand for the chemical intermediate, used mainly in coatings applications, and will bring BASF's global NPG capacity to 155 ktpa by the end of 2007."