MEPs endorse EU chemicals trade rules

Agreement shifts from trade to environment legal base of Rotterdam convention implementing laws

Tough new controls on EU exports and imports of hazardous chemicals were finalised today when the European parliament backed a compromise deal with EU governments on implementing the UN's Rotterdam convention. The convention introduces a prior informed consent (PIC) procedure for shipments of specified dangerous substances.

The deal approved today goes beyond the requirements of the convention in several respects but its key feature is a change in the legal base, from the trade articles of the EU treaty to those underpinning environmental protection. In practice this will mean a more decentralised management regime, allowing member states more flexibility to introduce their own tighter restrictions on movements of chemicals.

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