21 May 2002 13:35 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--UK Chemical Industries Association's (CIA) president Tony Bastock warned on Tuesday the new European Union (EU) policy on chemicals could affect the financial viability of smaller firms and lead to their relocation outside the EU.
Bastock, who is also group managing director of UK firm Contract Chemicals, said: "When I read and hear what is being proposed as the new system for the regulation of chemical substances in the EU I am alarmed about our future. I seriously doubt whether in five years' time, I will be celebrating my company's 30th birthday. It is more likely that I will be planning to relocate outside the EU."
He was speaking at the European Commission's (EC) conference on the impact of the proposed new chemicals policy in Brussels today and drew attention to a study by consultancy Risk & Policy Analyst (RPA) that listed "potentially serious" effects on the financial viability of smaller firms.
Bastock said: "It is morally indefensible to construct new legislation in a way that not only damages international competitiveness but, more fundamentally, encourages the "export" of the environmental challenge to countries and communities less committed to tackling the issue.
"The white paper [on future EU chemicals policy] was essentially written as if the rest of the world did not exist. The EU chemical industry is truly global - our markets are worldwide, as are our competitors and the opportunities for investment locations. The EU overlooks this at its peril."
Bastock highlighted three areas where the proposed legislation has to safeguard competitiveness: "We must ensure that the costs of the new system are equitable and proportionate, so that European companies, large and small, are not disadvantaged internationally. Secondly, the new legislation must provide for data protection. Thirdly, we need to be alert to the danger that the new system will encourage the import of final products containing harmful substances, which have not been tested. In all three areas, the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) has suggested credible and practical approaches."
At the same time, he pointed out: "This is not a plea for lower standards for smaller companies. As president of CIA and as CEO of my company, that position would be indefensible. Neither will I oppose the need for testing chemicals that enter the environment in a significant quantity."
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