Tuesday

26th Jul 2016

EU chemicals bill under fire from US-led coalition

A group of states including the US, Brazil and India on Thursday (8 June) launched an attack on the EU's landmark REACH chemicals law, calling it "potentially disruptive" to world trade.

The coalition of states calls for substantial changes to the EU's law on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), a major piece of legislation agreed by member states in December.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • REACH: arguably the most complex and hotly-fought over bill in the EU's 50 year history (Photo: Notat)

The bill is designed to cut occupational diseases through better monitoring of chemical products but needs to undergo a second reading by the European Parliament in autumn before final adoption.

Ambassadors of major EU trading partners the US, India, Brazil, Japan and Australia issued a statement saying that "trading partners uniformly agreed that modifications reducing the potentially disruptive impact of REACH on international trade and improving its workability would improve the legislation."

Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Chile, Israel, Japan, Korea and Malaysia also signed up to the statement which "called for the EU to use the second reading in parliament to address the problematic aspects of the proposal."

"Developing countries highlighted concerns regarding the cost of REACH especially on SMEs [small and medium-size enterprises]," the statement says.

'More risk-based'

The group of states, which foresees that its companies operating in the EU will be damaged by REACH, is particularly unhappy with the bill's rules on authorisation of chemicals.

The authorization rules mean for example that companies will be forced to substitute around 200 of the most toxic substances such as carcinogens with safer alternatives.

"Moves to require mandatory substitution or across the board uniform time limits would cause unnecessary market disruptions without clear environmental benefits," Thursday's statement warned.

"Trading partners seek a more risk-based authorisation process that does not dampen the competitive environment."

Parliament to face lobby

Registration rules for chemicals as proposed in the REACH draft were also criticised.

"Registration and notification of substances embedded in articles when no potential risks have yet been identified could cause many entities including numerous SMEs from developing countries to forego the EU market without corresponding environmental benefit."

The European Parliament is set to be lobbied intensely by diplomats from the REACH-wary states over the summer, with the second reading of the bill scheduled for October or November.

"The ambassadors pledged their willingness to work closely with the European Parliament and other EU institutions to help make REACH more workable and thus more successful," the statement concluded.

EU to tweak rules on Chinese 'dumping'

The EU Commission has tried to fudge the issue of whether China is a “market economy” amid efforts to protect European industry from cheap exports.

Court ruling puts Renzi bank plan in doubt

EU court ruling on bank bailouts has raised the likelihood of a political embarrassment for Renzi, months before a referendum puts his future and, potentially, Italy’s euro future on the line.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016
  2. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  3. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  4. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen Calls for International Probe Into Turkey Coup Allegations
  8. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  9. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  10. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company
  11. Access NowEuropol Supports Encryption. We Can Relax Now… Right?
  12. GoogleLearn about Google's projects across Europe on Twitter @GoogleBrussels