Industry welcomes EU position on chems regs in US trade deal

15 May 2014 17:40  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The EU chemical industry welcomed the publication of the EU’s position on chemicals sector regulations under the proposed trade agreement with the US, a Cefic spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The position takes the same approach as that put forward by the industry through the trade groups Cefic and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), according to Cefic’s international chemicals management executive director, Lena Perenius.

The two trade groups had suggested that regulators and researchers identify the common elements of EU and the US framework legislation and try to find opportunities to streamline regulatory activity.

The position, outlined on Wednesday, suggested that the objective of trade pact negotiators should be to agree on “all possibilities for regulatory cooperation/convergence within the limits of existing basic legal frameworks”.

It ruled out harmonisation between very different US and EU chemicals control legislation – such as the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the EU’s Reach (the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) regulation – as well as mutual recognition of chemicals and company registrations within the two pieces of legislation.

The latter idea had been put forward by the industry but was later withdrawn as a proposal after widespread criticism .

The Commission suggested that trade deal could drive greater collaboration with the US in chemicals labelling.

Chemical companies expect to make considerable savings on trade and regulatory costs should an agreement (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)) between the EU and the US be struck.

“Overall, we agree with the [European Commission] paper,” Perenius said. “It follows the right path.”

The position on chemicals legislation within the TTIP would not delay or slow down the implementation of REACH, she said, the aim being to align scientific strategy and consultation on the approach taken to regulate chemicals.

Science and risk-assessment would be at the heart of the proposal, she suggested, and common principles should be adopted for priority chemicals.

“The biggest opportunity is that we [the chemical industry and the regulators] can save significant costs,” she said.

By: Nigel Davis
+44 20 8652 3214

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