APEC Members Express Concern with Proposed European Chemical Legislation

Phuket, Thailand, 18 August 2003
Members of APEC continue to express concern over the European Commission's proposed chemicals legislation at their meeting in Phuket.
These concerns were raised at a meeting of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment following a briefing from the APEC Chemical Dialogue Steering Group on August 17.
The REACH system (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) has been the subject of over 6000 comments submitted to the European Commission by a diverse range of stakeholders, including industry groups and governments in Europe, the APEC region and Latin America.
APEC filed a collective comment on May 29 which drew attention to the possible impact of the REACH system on the APEC region's manufacturing sector. The APEC submission raised concerns about the potential costs the proposed European REACH System would impose on small businesses.
The submission also noted the significant impact the proposed European system would have on developing economies and for economies whose commodity exports are crucial to their continued economic growth. It also emphasized the potential impact on downstream industry sectors, such as automobiles, electronics and other consumer goods.
Similar concerns about the proposed new European system were expressed at the last meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade in Khon Kaen, Thailand, in June. At this meeting Ministers warned of the possible impact of the REACH system on the Asia-Pacific region's manufacturing sector.
While APEC members support the overall objectives of the REACH system, enhancing the level of environmental protection surrounding chemicals should be done in a way that minimizes the impact on trade and industry and takes into account the financial implications for small and medium enterprises in the chemical industry.