International trade in hazardous chemicals
Decision 2006/730/EC – Prior Informed Consent Procedure for international trade in certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides
It ensures the EU’s approval of, and participation in, the Rotterdam Convention after the Court of Justice had annulled the original legislative decision on a point of law.
The convention provides for a prior informed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides traded internationally.
—Regulates the import and export of 47 hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
—Requires any of the chemicals which it lists to receive an importer’s prior consent before they may be exported.
—Establishes a procedure for exchanging information on decisions taken by importing countries.
—Requires each signatory to the convention to appoint a national authority to ensure it is fully implemented.
—Asks each signatory whether or not it is prepared to accept imports of the chemicals and pesticides it lists.
—Requires exporters to ensure that the listed chemicals are not exported if the importing country has not given its formal approval.
—Requests parties that have banned or severely restricted a chemical to notify this to the convention’s Secretariat.
—Provides for the exchange of scientific, technical, economic and legal information on the chemicals it covers and the possibility of technical assistance for developing countries on chemical regulation.
—Allows a signatory to withdraw from the convention 1 year after receiving its notification to do so.
—The convention does not cover narcotics, radioactive materials, waste, chemical weapons, food and food additives, genetically modified organisms or chemicals exported for research.
On 10 January 2006, the European Court of Justice gave a judgement in case C-94/03. The European Commission had brought the case against the Council asking the Court to annul Council Decision 2003/106/EC which had approved the Rotterdam Convention on behalf of the European Union.
The Commission argued that the decision should have been based exclusively on the Treaty article which related to the common commercial policy (at the time, Article 133 of the Amsterdam Treaty), and not on the article used (Article 175 of the same treaty – which covered environment policy).
The Court ruled that both articles were required to provide the necessary legal base and annulled the original Council decision. The new decision, which took effect on the date its predecessor was adopted, ensures there is no legal void.
Council Decision 2006/730/EC of 25 September 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade (OJ L 299, 28.10.2006, pp. 23–25)
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 (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, pp. 60–106)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Hazardous chemicals — rules on import and export
Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 — export and import of hazardous chemicals
It implements in the EU the Rotterdam Convention on import and export procedures for hazardous chemicals.
It ensures that countries receiving certain chemicals from the EU are:
informed about the export;
asked whether they agree to the export;
informed about the safe handling of chemicals to protect human health and the environment from potential harm.
The regulation applies to:
hazardous chemicals listed under the Rotterdam Convention;
chemicals that are banned or severely restricted within the EU;
chemicals that are exported.
It does not cover:
food and food additives;
genetically-modified organisms and some medicines; and
chemicals exported for research or analysis in quantities unlikely to affect human health or the environment.
The regulation requires proper labelling and packaging of chemicals when they are exported from an EU country.
186 chemicals (pesticides and industrial chemicals) are listed in Annex I and are subject to certain obligations when exported. Hazardous chemicals can either be exported on their own or blended into a mixture or article.
This regulation replaces Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 and updates some procedures and terminology that needed to be brought into line with other EU rules. In addition, it involves the European Chemicals Agency in implementing the legal requirements.
How it works
The regulation implements the two main procedures of the Convention, i.e. the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) and Information Exchange. It includes export notification in order to inform countries on the trade in certain chemicals, but it also goes further than the Convention, for example, by applying the procedures to exports to all countries, irrespective of whether they are parties to the Convention.
The PIC allows importing parties to the Convention to inform exporting parties on whether they agree to imports of the hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention. The regulation requires the explicit consent of the importing country for more chemicals than those listed in the Convention.
Each chemical listed in the Convention has a decision guidance document to help governments make a more informed decision. All parties are required to take a decision on allowing imports — known as an import response — and the regulation ensures that import responses are respected for EU exports.
Under the Information Exchange mechanism, each party must notify the Convention’s Secretariat when banning a chemical, and must notify the importing parties upon the export of such chemical. The regulation establishes the export notification procedure for EU exports of such chemicals to all importing countries.
All chemicals when exported must be labelled and packed according to certain standards and accompanied by basic safety information on a safety data sheet.
Each EU country must set up a designated national authority to be responsible for implementing the regulation.
The European Commission and EU countries share responsibility within the Convention, in particular in regard to:
matters relating to dispute settlement.
Application & Background
The Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 is the recast version of Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 and its subsequent amendments. It has applied since 1 March 2014.
For more information, see:
Trade of Dangerous Chemicals (European Commission)
Prior Informed Consent Regulation (European Chemicals Agency).
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 (recast) (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, pp. 60-106)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals (OJ L 204, 31.7.2008, pp. 1-35)
See consolidated version
Council Decision 2006/730/EC of 25 September 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade (OJ L 299, 28.10.2006, p. 23-25)
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