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International trade in hazardous chemicals

The European Union (EU) regulates the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides. By adopting Regulation (EU) No. 649/2012, the EU aims to implement the Rotterdam Convention, encourage the sharing of responsibilities, and protect health and the environment.

ACT

Regulation (EU) No. 649/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals.

SUMMARY

The Regulation provides rules concerning the import of chemicals that are banned or severely restricted for use in the European Union (EU). Exporters shall be required to notify the export of chemicals subject to this Regulation before export can take place. Furthermore, the chemicals covered by the Rotterdam Convention, and chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the European Union, cannot be exported without the consent of the importing countries.

This Regulation aims at ensuring that the provisions of the Regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances shall also apply to all chemicals when they are exported from Member States to other Parties to the Convention or to other countries, except if these provisions are incompatible with the specific requirements of these Parties or other countries.

Chemicals concerned:

This Regulation covers:

  • certain hazardous chemicals that are subject to the prior informed consent procedure (the ‘PIC procedure’) under the Rotterdam Convention;
  • certain hazardous chemicals that are banned or severely restricted within the Union or a Member State; and
  • all chemicals when exported in so far as their classification, labelling and packaging are concerned.

Certain products are excluded from the scope of the Regulation, specifically:

National authorities

Each Member State shall designate one or more authority to carry out the administrative functions required by this Regulation.

European Chemicals Agency

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) shall assist the Commission by managing the technical, scientific and administrative aspects relating to the import and export of said products. It shall send, in particular, manufacturers’ notifications to non-EU importing countries, manage all related communications, and maintain a database of the notifications which shall be accessible on its website.

Notification and explicit consent procedure

This Regulation sets the time periods and obligations concerning the notification procedure and the explicit consent procedure depending on the category to which the chemical product belongs.

Imports

The Commission shall adopt a decision in the form of a final or interim response regarding the import of the chemical in question. Where a chemical is subject to additional or amended restrictions, the Commission shall adopt a revised import decision.

In the case of a chemical being banned or severely restricted, the Commission shall take this information into account in its import decision.

Exports

Exporters must comply with the decisions of other Parties concerning import. Export of a chemical to a Party which has not provided a response concerning the import of the chemical concerned is prohibited. However, the chemical may be exported if the importing Party has given explicit consent for the chemical in question.

Any export of a chemical which is banned or severely restricted by European Union legislation must be notified to the importing country and said country must acknowledge receipt of the notification in accordance with the Convention.

Exchange of information

The Commission, assisted by ECHA and the Member States, shall facilitate the provision of scientific, technical, economic and legal information concerning the chemicals covered by this Regulation.

Technical assistance

The Commission, the designated national authorities of the Member States and ECHA shall cooperate in promoting technical assistance for the development of the infrastructure, the capacity and the expertise necessary to manage chemicals properly throughout their lifecycles, depending on the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Penalties

The rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation shall be determined by Member States. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Repeal

This Regulation repeals Regulation (EC) No. 689/2008 with effect from 1 March 2014.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EU) No. 649/2012

16.8.2012

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OJ L 201 of 27.7.2012

Last updated: 31.01.2013
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