American industry warns EU chemicals directive will cause 'unnecessary barriers to trade'.

American industry has warned that upcoming regulation of the European Union chemicals sector is ’likely to cause massive product reformulations, business disruptions and unnecessary barriers to trade’.

The Brussels-based American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (Amcham EU) is concerned that EU ministers and the European parliament will establish a list of ’substances of very high concern’ requiring priority attention under Europe’s proposed system of registration and evaluation of chemicals (Reach).

Importers would have to notify the European Chemicals Agency of articles in which listed substances are present in concentrations greater than 0.1 per cent. 

Pending evaluation procedures, publication of this so-called ’candidate list’ would have ’a de facto blacklist effect’ so disproportionate  that it would breach World Trade Organisation rules on technical barriers to trade.

Declaring itself ’strongly opposed to the elaboration and publication of a candidate list, and to that list serving as a reference for purposes of notifying substances in articles’, Amcham EU voiced fears that the list will be used by ’green NGOs and their governmental supporters to force companies not to use [candidate list] substances’ even though their use remains lawful pending formal authorisation.

Amcham EU also criticises requirements for manufacturers or importers of polymers to register monomers used in the production of their polymers -- unless previously registered - if a monomer represents at least two per cent of the polymer and if the monomer is imported in quantities of at least one tonne per year.

Here, registration costs would ’significantly and disproportionately’ outweigh any environmental and health benefits, according to the chamber. Arthur Rogers