Over 96 percent of the world’s manufacturing supply chains—from automotive to aircraft, from electronics to agriculture, from apparel to medical supplies—depend on access to innovative and effective chemical input. Chemistry is vital to the creation of groundbreaking products that make our lives and planet healthier, safer and more sustainable. Trade acts as the conduit that enables the innovative products of chemistry to reach the economies and businesses that need them most.
In the 2000 APEC Ministerial Meeting in Brunei, ministers welcomed an initiative to establish the Chemical Dialogue, comprising of government and industry representatives to foster cooperation and take actions to help member economies achieve high standards of protection for human health and safety and the environment, foster greater innovation, and prevent barriers to trade.
The Chemical Dialogue (CD) serves as a forum for regulatory and trade officials and industry representatives to find solutions to challenges facing the chemical industry in the Asia-Pacific region. It reflects APEC members' recognition of the importance of both engaging with the private sector and building public-private dialogue and sustained cooperation for the benefit of both sectors.
The CD focuses on chemical-sector trade liberalization and facilitation by improving trade and regulatory policies and practices. It seeks workable programs which ensure that regulatory, safety and environmental goals can be implemented by both governments and businesses.
The CD’s primary goals are articulated in its strategic framework, which was initially endorsed by APEC Ministers in 2011.
The CD’s current strategic framework for 2020-2023 is organized around the following three revised shared goals:
- To facilitate trade and raise the standard of sound management of chemicals by expanding and supporting regulatory cooperation and regulatory alignment in the region.
- To promote understanding of the chemical industry’s role as a provider of innovative solutions for sustainable economic, environmental and social development.
- To enable effective cooperation between industry and governments to improve chemical product stewardship and safe use.
The CD has maintained a focus on regulatory cooperation and the application of good regulatory practices throughout its tenure, developing in 2008 a set of Principles for Best Practice in Chemical Regulation and subsequently in 2016 a Best Practice Principles Checklist for Chemicals Regulation to help economies apply those principles during the regulatory review and rule-making process. In 2020, the CD endorsed the APEC CD Regulatory Cooperation Report to identify, share, and capture best practices and actionable approaches for APEC chemical regulators seeking to engage in regulatory cooperation with trade partners. The CD continues to advance the following topics in 2021:
- Preventing barriers to trade in chemicals through regulatory cooperation
- Facilitating the flow of critical inputs for essential goods to combat COVID-19 such as personal protective equipment, medical equipment, cleaning, and disinfecting supplies
- Aligning implementation of the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
- Addressing emerging issues such as marine debris and waste management of plastic
- Building capacity on risk assessment for chemical substances
Last page update: February 2022
The 31st meeting of the APEC Chemical Dialogue (CD31) was convened in hybrid mode on 3 August 2023 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The CD industry pre-meeting was held on 2 August, with priorities on regulatory convergence, supporting the virtual working group on marine debris, exploring chemical recycling, and promoting cross-fora collaboration. At the CD31, industry and regulator members discussed how to renew the APEC Chemical Strategic Framework 2024 – 2027 to reflect new challenges to the chemical industry as well as to align Chemical Dialogue’s works with the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 including the Aotearoa Plan of Action. Under the Chemical Dialogue’s scheme, four virtual working groups on Regulatory Cooperation and Convergence, Globally Harmonized System for the Labelling and Classification of Chemicals (GHS), Data Exchange and Marine Debris also updated members of their recent activities.
Webinar series on Capacity building on GHS implementation convergence practices will be held on 16 and 30 October and 14 November (Singapore)
The project seeks to build the capacity of APEC regulators and stakeholders to address gaps divergence in GHS implementation among APEC economies. The workshop is a series of three 2.5 hours webinars led by an expert consultant who will deliver a tailored capacity building program on GHS implementation convergence principles. The workshop will include several sessions on 16 October, 30 October and 14 November with varying dynamics such as expert presentations, interactive breakout and panel discussions.