A proposal to revise the prior informed consent (PIC) regulation will be tabled by April. The European Commission merely seeks to make technical changes. It will not propose to change its substance. The regulation deals with the export of dangerous chemicals.
A draft revised regulation is now going through inter-service consultation in Brussels, according to an EC official. It will align the PIC law with new rules on the classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) of hazardous chemicals and the Lisbon treaty.
Among other things, the commission will propose to amend certain terminologies such as 'preparations', which would now be called 'mixtures'. The references to comitology would also be changed to reflect new rules introduced by the Lisbon Treaty.
The commission also wants to transfer responsibility for dealing with export notifications to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Under PIC rules, European firms exporting dangerous chemicals must receive the consent of receiving countries.
Prior consent is not required if a company can demonstrate that the substance has already been licensed, registered or authorised in the receiving country. Such exports must be approved by the commission on a case-by-case basis. Under the draft revised PIC law, ECHA would process applications.
EU PIC law implements the UN's Rotterdam convention on prior informed consent for trade in hazardous chemicals. The revision will not affect the list of chemicals covered by the rules, which are regularly updated via an annex. The Hungarian presidency hopes to broker a Council of Ministers agreement on the revised law in June.