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- Control of trade in dangerous chemicals
- Control of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
- Registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH)
- Classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures
- Plant protection products and biocides
- Ozone-depleting substances (ODS)
- Fluorinated greenhouse gases
- Endangered species
Imports of certain dangerous chemicals into the EU are subject to controls under the Rotterdam Convention. This defines the prior informed consent (PIC) procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade. The EU Implements this procedure through Regulation (EC) No 649/2012.
For specific requests please use ePIC.
All information regarding import requirements is contained in European Database of Export and Import of Dangerous Chemicals.
EU policy aims at eliminating or minimising the use of these products, in line with the Stockholm Convention on POPs and the Protocol to the regional UNECE Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution – implemented by Regulation (EC) No 850/2004
REACH is the EU's current chemical legislation. It establishes a new system for existing and new substances and sets requirements for manufacturers in the EU and EU importers of chemicals and products containing chemicals.
In the EU, the chemicals industry is responsible for providing information on the properties of chemical substances they produce. This information is kept in a central database run by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which manages and coordinates the whole process.
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The system covers all chemicals including those used in:
- industrial processes
- cleaning products
- electrical appliances
- paint or cosmetic ingredients
- office and scool supplies
- electronic components
Certain product groups, such as food ingredients or pharmaceuticals, are exempted from REACH. The possible obligations under REACH for some products (e.g. pigments that can be used in food and non-food products) may depend on the eventual use.
The REACH system is the main legislation. There is also specific legislation governing products like detergents, cosmetics, biocides, etc.
Before chemicals can be placed on the EU market, they must be classified, labelled and packaged in accordance with the United Nations Globally Harmonised System (GHS), which classifies chemicals according to their hazardous properties. This system is implemented in the EU by Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, which will gradually replace the current rules by 2015.
Other relevant legislation:
In the EU, plant protection products must be authorised before they can be placed on the market, as must many of their component ingredients. The authorisation and approval arrangements are set out in Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009.
Biocides must meet specific requirements. Examples of biocides include:
- non-agricultural pestides
- nautical anti-fauling products
If you want to export wood preserving paints or antifouling agents to the EU, you have to make sure that your products are allowed on the market according to the EU legislation on biocides. Main requirements include a list of allowed substances and authorisation of the product.
This document focuses on the consequences of the biocide legislation for producers operating within the CBI target product group termed 'paints and coatings'.
Please note that the requirements for the placing on the market of biocidal products are not completely harmonised yet in all EU countries. Contact the Member State’s competent authority prior to exporting to that EU country.
Detergents and surfactants must meet the biodegradability and labelling specific requirements.
If you export products in which manufacture Nonyl Phenols (NP) and Nonyl Phenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) are used, you must consider the EU restrictions on the use of these substances.
Examples of such products are:
- detergent formulations
- cosmetic products
Note that the restriction on the use of NP and NPEs in products is limited to EU territory. However, EU buyers may require you not to use the substances in your production process to prevent concentrations of NPE or NPE present in the products.
If you want to export products containing solvents you have to make sure that you comply with the requirements set by the EU for solvents. Examples of such solvents include:
- paint strippers
- skin-care products
If you are an exporter of products containing ozone depleting substances (e.g. spray cans, refrigerators, solvents or fire extinguishers), you have to make sure that these ozone depleting substances used are not prohibited in the EU.
Some chemicals such as (hydro-) chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs and HCFCs) and methyl bromide cause global ozone layer depletion and these compounds may contribute to global warming.
Limited quantities of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) may enter the EU only under stringent conditions. In particular:
- they may be authorised only for essential uses where no alternative is available
- their (non-EU) country of origin must be a signatory of the Montreal Protocol on ODS
- they must be accompanied by an import licence issued by the EU (DG Environment), within an annual quota
The requirements are set out in accordance with the Montreal Protocol to control ODS.
Imports of products and equipment containing or relying on ODS are prohibited.
The following products exported to the EU must meet the requirements related to the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases:
- refrigerating products
- air-conditioning equipment
- heat-pump equipment
- high voltage switchgear
- fire protection systems
Fluorinated gases are powerful greenhouse gases which are extremely persistent in the atmosphere. To restrict the damage of these gases in the atmosphere, the EU set requirements for their use.
EU policy is to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol (hydro fluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride).
Imports of endangered species into the EU are subject to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
If you export wild flora, fauna, or products thereof, you should take into account the provisions laid down by CITES in order to guarantee the EU entry of your products.
CITES prohibits or restricts the trade of specimen of certain (endangered) listed animals, plants, or products containing material from these species, for example:
- leather articles
As a result, the EU prohibits the import of specimen of certain endangered species. For specimen of other species, the import is under certain circumstances allowed but only if the shipment is accompanied by official documentation: #
- (re-)export permits
- import permits
- import notifications
Specimens of endangered species (and parts or derivatives) entering the EU must be accompanied by permits and certificates.
The EU has specific legislation in place regarding the proper handling of waste in its entry into and exit from the European Market.
Shipment of waste
EU policy requires all waste entering the EU to be authorised in advance and notified to the authorities. Radioactive waste is subject to specific requirements
All packaging placed on the EU market must meet basic requirements regarding composition and recoverability. These requirements aim to prevent the production of packaging waste, to promote the reuse of packaging (recycling or other forms of recovering packaging waste) and as such to reduce the final disposal of such waste.
In particular, packaging must:
- be of minimal value and weight
- contain minimal quantities of hazardous substances (especially heavy metals)
- be suitable for reuse, recovery and recycling.
- labelled to indicate its composition (to facilitate collection, reuse and recovery)
The requirements directly relevant for producers mainly relate to maximum concentration levels for heavy metals (lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and mercury) contained in packaging and to labelling (marking and identification of the materials used).
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
EU rules restrict the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of such waste.
Batteries and Accumulators
EU rules prohibit the marketing of batteries containing hazardous substances and require spent batteries and accumulators to be collected and recycled under special schemes.