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New EU Regulation for export and import of hazardous chemicals enters into operation


From 1 March 2014, new rules concerning the export and import of very hazardous chemicals will be implemented, when the revised Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation becomes operational. At the same time, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will take over the administrative and technical responsibility from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Helsinki, 28 February 2014 – PIC regulates the import and export of very hazardous chemicals between the European Union and third countries, and implements the global Rotterdam Convention within the EU. Export of these chemicals cannot take place until the receiving country has been informed. In some cases, an ‘explicit consent' is needed from the importing country. The regulation aims to promote shared responsibility and cooperation in the international trade of very hazardous chemicals, and to protect human health and the environment by giving information to the receiving countries on how to store, transport, use and dispose of such chemicals safely.

The new regulation is consistent with the REACH and Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulations. It also follows the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling. It introduces fixed timelines for all actors to perform their tasks, whereas the previous regulation had different deadlines for first time exports and exports that have previously taken place. ECHA now takes responsibility for the technical and administrative aspects of PIC while the policy responsibility remains with DG Environment of the European Commission.

ECHA's Executive Director Geert Dancet says: "PIC is another piece of EU legislation which makes an important contribution to chemical safety worldwide. We are proud to take responsibility for PIC and to strengthen our role as a global actor in the field of chemical safety. Our aim is to ensure a successful transition from the existing legislation to the new. ECHA staff are ready to help dutyholders".

As of 1 March, the Agency starts processing industry's export notifications and explicit consents. It will for now continue to use the existing European Database of Export and Import of Dangerous Chemicals (EDEXIM). The ECHA Helpdesk is ready to help companies and authorities with the legal aspects of PIC and with individual notifications. To contact the ECHA Helpdesk, use the webform available on ECHA's website.

In the autumn, the Agency will launch a new IT application, ePIC, with improved functionalities. To support industry and the designated national authorities, an updated PIC guidance and IT manuals on the use of ePIC will also be made available. In 2014, the Agency expects to process around 4 000 PIC notifications.

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