01 July 2002 18:07 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--The UK Chemical Industries Association (CIA) on Monday called on the government to press the European Commission (EC) for a full business impact study on the European Union's (EU) White Paper on future chemicals policy.
CIA director general Judith Hackitt and other industry representatives expressed their concerns about the potential impact on international trade and competitiveness not just for the chemical industry in the UK and the EU, but also for the downstream customers of the industry, including, for example, the semiconductor and electronics sectors.
The CIA said it believes that the EC's proposals as they stand would drive chemical production overseas, and if restrictions are imposed on imports of chemicals that have not been tested in the EU, then downstream manufacturing will also be forced out of the EU, resulting in large-scale imports of formulations and finished goods, thereby not resolving the environmental objectives of the legislation at all.
Experience with current EU systems suggests that the proposed system would be administratively demanding, bureaucratic and impracticable, said the CIA.
It pointed out that the proposed EU chemicals policy is unduly pessimistic regarding the current situation, and that the vast majority of chemicals are being used safely. In addition, the cost-benefit analysis used in the White Paper to justify the proposed system is completely inadequate, the CIA added.
Hackitt said: "We believe that UK government and industry can play a leading role in shaping a chemicals management policy that combines a transparent and comprehensive process for registering and screening commercially available substances, with a rapid and transparent system for dealing with situations where risk assessment has demonstrated a need for additional control measures."
"It is morally indefensible to press ahead with regulation that ignores competitiveness issues and risks a cosmetic solution which simply exports any problems outside of Europe.
"It is vital that the UK government at the highest level is fully aware of the ramifications of the unhindered passage of these proposals. We are very keen to work in close partnership with the EC and the UK government in the development of a system of chemicals management that is practicable and proportionate, has realistic deadlines and safeguards innovation and competitiveness".
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