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CHEMICALS : NEW REGULATION ON TRADE IN HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS.

The regulation that transposes into EU law the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for trade in hazardous products was adopted by the European Parliament on 15 January. With its endorsement of the compromise amendments negotiated with the Council, the EP paved the way for final adoption of the regulation at first reading (co-decision procedure) and early entry into force of the text.

The new regulation that will implement the Rotterdam Convention's measures on prior informed consent' for international trade in certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides will replace Regulation EC 304/2003, which was annulled in January 2006 by the Court of Justice due to its legal basis. The Commission had based its proposal on Article 133 (trade policy), whereas the Council, backed by the EP, had adopted it on the sole basis of Article 175 (environment policy, co-decision). The Court's ruling imposed the dual legal basis, since the two aspects are "inseparable". Pending the new regulation, the Court had nonetheless maintained the validity of the earlier legislation.

The new text, adopted overwhelmingly by 681 to eight, with nine abstentions, on the basis of the report drafted by Johannes Blokland (IND-DEM, Netherlands), meets that requirement and introduces certain technical changes as well as a more important change related to the explicit consent procedure. The Commission wishes to make the procedure more flexible given the difficulties exporting countries experience when they try to obtain the explicit consent of the country of import.

The EP approved of that approach, but wanted the temporary derogations given to the country of export pending consent to be valid only if the chemical has been registered or authorised by the country of import. Temporary authorisation must be granted case by case, and in the event of export from a member state to a non-OECD member, the Commission and the member state of export must first take account of possible consequences for the environment and human health. Temporary authorisations will be valid for only 12 months, after which the explicit consent of the state of import will be required. The Commission wished to make these derogations valid for two years.

Background

The Rotterdam Convention, adopted in September 1998, entered into force in February 2004. It lays down the principle that the export of any product covered by the convention is subject to the prior informed consent of the importer. It consequently establishes a prior informed consent (PIC) procedure for the international trade in hazardous chemicals and pesticides.

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Publication:Europe Environment
Date:Jan 24, 2008
Words:412
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