The Illegal Trade in Chemicals

Regulations and policies

Several multilateral environmental agreements provide frameworks for the regulation of the trade in chemicals. The most relevant MEAs regulate trade in response to the potential harm to human health or the environment, but do not cover international intellectual property laws that may also have implications for the legality of trade in chemicals.

importing countries, and confidentially shares any differences in trade data with the Parties. OzonAction facilitates bilateral discussions between trading partner countries to assist in analyzing and addressing the causes for these differences. Exemptions: Meetings of the Parties can grant exemptions – including those for essential use and critical use – that extend to specific parties and quantities after the total phase-out of relevant controlled substances. The use of the pesticide methyl bromide for quarantine and pre-shipment applications is exempted but closely monitored through mandatory reporting. The Montreal Protocol monitors compliance through mandatory reporting on the production and consumption of controlled substances. Consumption is defined as import plus production (or destruction) minus export. Thus, the monitoring of imports and exports is crucial for reliable data reporting and compliance. The provisions of the Protocol are implemented and enforced by national legislation and policies. Non-compliance is addressed through the non- compliance procedure and the Implementation Committee. Status: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was adopted under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. It is a universally ratified treaty with several amendments and adjustments. Background: The Minamata Convention regulates mercury, including any mixtures of mercury with other substances. The Convention bans the opening of new mercury mines and mandates the phasing out of existing mines within 15 years of the Convention’s entry into force (16 August 2017). Mercury from primary mining can be used only in manufacturing mercury-added products or in manufacturing processes that comply with the Convention. Otherwise, it must be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Article 3(4), which prohibits the opening of new mercury mines, also prohibits the use of primary mined mercury in ASGM. Article 3(5) prohibits mercury that was previously used in the chlor-alkali industry fromuse in ASGM. These provisions, coupledwith the consent requirements for international trade, make the Minamata Convention trade provisions potentially very powerful. The Convention is relatively new, however, and there are questions relating to the Parties’ capacity or political will to address the issue of illegal trade. Large regional efforts, especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, are needed to increase national capacities; to develop practical tools for monitoring and regulating trade; and to target illegal trade routes for improved enforcement. This is the Convention’s The Minamata Convention

The Montreal Protocol

Background: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was adopted under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. It requires Parties to either phase out or phase down the consumption and production of substances, listed in its annexes, according to specific schedules. The controlled chemicals include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, the pesticide methyl bromide and others. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol entered into force on 1 January 2019 and requires Parties to phase down the use of global warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These are widely used as replacements for CFCs and HCFCs in refrigeration, air-conditioning, foam blowing and fire protection. Their phase-down is an important contribution to limiting climate change. Trade-related obligations: In addition to adhering to the phase- out and phase-down schedules, Parties must monitor, control and report on the production and consumption of ozone- depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons, and establish and implement a system for licensing the import and export of controlled chemicals. The Protocol bans the trade with non- Parties starting from certain dates. In addition, some Parties use a voluntary informal Prior Informed Consent (iPIC) system and have established a mechanism to report seizures to the Ozone Secretariat and the Meetings of the Parties. The Protocol’s Multilateral Fund provides funding to developing countries primarily for technology transition, for capacity-building for customs and enforcement officers and environmental inspectors, and for equipping border checkpoints with refrigerant identifiers. UNEP OzonAction produces training materials and tools for customs and enforcement officers, holds regional enforcement meetings and border dialogues to enhance regional cooperation, and provides recognition and incentives to customs and enforcement officers. At the request of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, the Ozone Secretariat approached the World Customs Organization to revise the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS codes) to allow better monitoring of HFCs.

The Ozone Secretariat identifies trade data on exports reported by exporting countries and imports reported by

The Illegal Trade in Chemicals


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