In the presence of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, and Prof. Gottfried Plumpe, a member of the Board of management of Bayer MaterialScience AG, signed an agreement with Ruan Yanhua, President of the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Corporation, to build a world-scale production plant for the coating raw material HDI (hexamethylene diisocyanate). The ceremony was held during the third German-Chinese high-technology dialogue forum on May 4, 2004, in Berlin. The HDI project involves a total capacity of up to 50,000 t/y and an investment of some USD 100 million. Construction of the new facility is scheduled to begin fall 2004. HDI is a precursor for alphalitic polyisocyanates, which serve as raw materials for high-grade polyurethane coating systems. Such systems are used predominantly in automotive, industrial and plastics coatings. "China is already one of our most important markets," said Wenning during the signing of the agreement. "China's importance for the chemical and pharmaceutical industry will increase further in the coming years. Bayer wants to play a leading role in the economic development of the People's Republic. With our investments in Caojing, we are creating ideal conditions for strengthening our growth in this key market.