The first report of European Chemical Agency (ECHA) on the operation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation looks back on the first three years of implementing the PIC Regulation (2014-2016). The report shows that awareness and compliance with the regulation have grown significantly, with annual export notifications increasing by 74 % from 4 500 in 2014 to nearly 8000 in 2016. This increase is far beyond the originally estimated 10% yearly increase. The large number of notifications also implies that the EU gives an increasing amount of useful information to authorities in importing countries, which they can use for regulatory purposes and to identify the companies using these chemicals in their country.
In addition, the number of companies involved in PIC activities has risen from 390 to 1 177, partly due to the new chemicals added to the list of chemicals subject to an export notification, and partly due to ECHA’s activity in raising awareness of the regulation.
Requests to ECHA for technical or regulatory support from national authorities in the EU and in non-EU countries have also increased from 1 000 in 2014 to 1 800 in 2016.
Geert Dancet, the Executive Director of ECHA, says: “Thanks to the continued support from our stakeholders, we are on the right track towards achieving the key aims of PIC – to make the international trade of very hazardous chemicals transparent for the protection of human health and the environment worldwide. We, however, express our concern about the higher than planned workload, which continues to increase. Without adequate resources, the Agency cannot guarantee the same level of quality as we have achieved so far.”
The report suggests further ways of improving cooperation with the Commission on topics such as distributing or reallocating certain tasks, planning workloads and managing amendments to the regulation. It also proposes potential changes to the legal text to improve or resolve some of the workability issues that the Agency has faced.
ECHA seeks to discuss these points with the European Commission and the Member States.