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Parliament safeguards strict rules on EU toxic chemical exports

Plenary Session Press release - Environment10-05-2012 - 12:56

MEPs safeguarded strict conditions for the EU's toxic chemical exports in legislation amended on Thursday. The chemicals are those listed in the UN's Rotterdam Convention, which aims to protect the environment and public health in the importing countries.

"The Commission's proposal had left a huge loophole for exports of hazardous chemicals to other countries without their consent. The EU has to act responsibly when it comes to chemicals that can have lethal consequences. I am therefore satisfied that Parliament has now tightened up the Commission's proposal", said Dan Jørgensen (S&D, DK), after his report was adopted with 563 votes in favour, 16 against and 30 abstentions.

MEPs add new conditions for exports

Parliament approved amendments already negotiated with EU ministers to stipulate that if a destination country does not respond within 60 days to an EU request for its prior informed consent to such imports (e.g. for industrial use or as an agricultural pesticide), then they may go ahead provided the chemical is "licensed, registered or authorised" in the destination country. If not, then the following three conditions must all be met:

  • there must be official proof that the chemical has been imported to used or used in the destination country in the previous 5 years,

  • there must be no ban or restriction on the chemical in the destination country for its intended use, and

  • the chemical must not be blacklisted under the Rotterdam Convention or an additional EU list for its intended use.

MEPs also added that CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction) and PBT (persistant, bioaccumulative or toxic) chemicals must not be exported without consent if they are listed in the Rotterdam Convention.

Prior Informed Consent

Under the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure, a company wishing to export certain toxic chemicals must obtain the destination country's explicit agreement before the deal can be struck. This procedure is enshrined in the UN's Rotterdam Convention and in EU law.

According to the European Commission, in around 30% of cases, no response is forthcoming from the importing country. It therefore proposed to allow exports for a temporary basis, under certain conditions.

Procedure: Co-decision (1st reading)

REF. : 20120508IPR44662