Dupont-Dow expansion due to start in LaPlace

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005


Managing Editor

LAPLACE — Dupont Dow Elastomers is happy the International Trade Commission will keep in place tariffs on rubber imports from Japan, giving the facility a green light for long-planned expansions.

The $100 million expansion of LaPlace’s neoprene plant will mean more jobs for the area, but a spokesperson for Dupont Dow Elastomers could not elaborate on the number or value of the additional jobs.

“We’re unable to predict that at this time,” Cathy Branciaroli, communications manger, said Thursday.

She added, as to the expansion, “We expect to go in for the final OK later this year,” and said the project still required internal approvals.

The expansion should be complete by late 2006, Branciaroli added.

“We are pleased that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has extended the anti-dumping protection for polychloroprene. This protection is important to maintain a strong business.”

The matter before the ITC was boosted by the assistance of Congressman Charles Melancon, who urged the panel last month to maintain the tariffs, which date back to 1973 and are examined every five years for renewal.

“We appreciate Congressman Melancon’s support on this issue,” Branciaroli said.

Plans for the LaPlace expansion were first announced in 2002. However, the threat of competition by cheap Japanese imported rubber stalled the project plans.

“We are continuing to move forward with the previously announced plans to consolidate production of Neoprene at DuPont Dow’s Pontchartrain Works in Louisiana, with the goal of completing that consolidation in late 2006. We are now working to obtain final internal approvals on this project, which we expect later this year, so that the project can move ahead,” Branciaroli said.

Dow is the sole manufacturer of the oil-resistant synthetic rubber called neoprene, used in auto manufacture, insulation, work gloves and other products.

The tariffs are maintained to protect the U.S. business from competition by overseas manufacturers.