Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade

Little Pro on 2016-01-07

Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade is an international treaty promoting shared responsibility between exporting and importing countries in protecting human health and the environment from certain banned or restricted hazardous chemicals and pesticides, and providing a mechanism for the exchange of information about potentially hazardous chemicals.

The Convention was adopted on 10 September 1998 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and entered into force on 24 February 2004. More than 150 countries have ratified the convention. The table below gives you an overview of the Convention.

Rotterdam Convention

Annex III: List of Banned or Restricted Chemicals in the Rotterdam Convention

The chemicals listed in Annex III include pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by two or more Parties. They are subject to Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure.

There are a total of 53 chemicals listed in Annex III, 36 are pesticides (including 5 severely hazardous pesticide formulations) and 15 industrial chemicals.

  • 2,4,5-T and its salts and esters
  • Alachlor
  • Aldicarb
  • Aldrin
  • Binapacryl
  • Captafol
  • Chlordane
  • Chlordimeform
  • Chlorobenzilate
  • DDT
  • Dieldrin
  • DNOC and its salts (such as ammonium salt, potassium salt and sodium salt)
  • Dinoseb and its salts
  • Dinoseb acetate
  • 1,2-dibromoethane (EDB)
  • Endolsulfan
  • Ethylene dichloride
  • Ethylene oxide
  • Fluoroacetamide
  • HCH (mixed isomers)
  • Heptachlor
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Lindane
  • Mercury compounds including inorganic mercury compounds, alkyl mercury compounds and alkyloxyalkyl and aryl mercury compounds
  • Monocrotophos
  • Parathion
  • Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters
  • Toxaphene
  • Dustable powder formulations containing a combination of : benomyl at or above 7 per cent, carbofuran at above 10 per cent, thiram at or above 15 per cent
  • Methamidophos
  • Phosphamidon
  • Methyl-parathion
  • Asbestos
  • Crocidolite
  • Actinolite
  • Anthophyllite
  • Amosite
  • Tremolite
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)
  • Polychlorinated terphenyls (PCT)
  • Tetraethyl lead
  • Tetramethyl lead
  • Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate
  • Tributyl tin compounds
  • Methamidophos formulation (added in May 2015);
  • carbofuran (added in May 2017)
  • trichlorfon (added in May 2017)
  • short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) (added in May 2017).
  • phorate (added in May 2019)
  • hexabromocyclododecane (added in May 2019)

It shall be noted that a mixture containing above annex III chemicals may also be regarded as listed in Annex III. You need to consult the HS code of the mixture to determine whether it is restricted or banned. To download the complete list of Annex III chemicals with CAS numbers and HS codes, please click here.

Updates of Annex III and Further Listings

Annex III is not a static list. The following chemicals are recommended for further listings in the Annex III:

  • Fenthion (ultra low volume (ULV) formulations at or above 640 g active ingredient/L);
  • Liquid paraquat formulations (emulsifiable concentrate and soluble concentrate) containing paraquat dichloride at or above 276 g/L, corresponding to paraquat ion at or above 200 g/L);

Important Note:

Parties to the Convention have their own lists of hazardous chemicals banned or restricted from import and export. Such lists usually contain more chemicals than those listed in Annex III. For a hazardous chemical that is not listed on Annex III but is banned or restricted in exporting party, certain information must be exchanged between the exporting and importing party. Pease refer to information exchange part for more info.

Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure

For chemicals listed in Annex III, the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure must be followed. Once a chemical is included in Annex III, a "decision guidance document" (DGD) containing information concerning the chemical and the regulatory decisions to ban or severely restrict the chemical for health or environmental reasons, is circulated to all Parties.

Parties have 9 months to prepare a response concerning the future import of the chemical. The import response can consist of either a final decision (to allow import of the chemical, not to allow import, or to allow import subject to specified conditions) or an interim response.

The import decisions are circulated via PIC circular every 6 months and exporting country Parties are obligated under the Convention to take appropriate measure to ensure that exporters within its jurisdiction comply with the decisions.

The import decisions for each Annex III chemical by each party can be found here.

Information Exchange

In addition to mandating the PIC procedure for Annex III chemicals, the Convention promotes the exchange of information on a very broad range of hazardous chemicals including those not included in Annex III yet. It calls on the exporters of those hazardous chemicals to make use of proper labelling, include directions on safe handling, and inform importers of any known restrictions or bans.

It does so through:

  • the requirement for a Party to inform other Parties of each national ban or severe restriction of a chemical;
  • the possibility for Party which is a developing country or a country in transition to inform other Parties that it is experiencing problems caused by a severely hazardous pesticide formulation under conditions of use in its territory;
  • the requirement for a Party that plans to export a chemical that is banned or severely restricted for use within its territory, to inform the importing Party that such export will take place, before the first shipment and annually thereafter;
  • the requirement for an exporting Party, when exporting chemicals that are to be used for occupational purposes, to ensure that up-to-date safety data sheet s and labels are provide.

Impacts of the Rotterdam Convention

The Rotterdam Convention mainly deals with the export and import of certain hazardous pesticides and industrial chemicals. Unlike Stockholm Convention, it does ban or restrict the use of a hazardous substance in products.

Countries that have ratified the Convention usually have their own regulations to restrict or ban the import and export of certain hazardous chemicals. Such hazardous chemicals are not limited to those listed on Annex III. Both exporters and importers shall check their own lists of banned or restricted chemicals and their national regulations implementing the Rotterdam Convention.

Example 1: EU Prior Informed Consent Regulation (PIC, Regulation (EU) 649/2012) places notification obligations on companies who wish to export certain hazardous chemicals to non-EU countries. Exporters have to notify the European Chemicals Agency (EHCA) of their intentions to export certain chemicals to a country outside the EU. Read more...

Example 2: China MEP Order 22 requires that companies who intend to export or import toxic chemicals on the List of toxic chemicals severely restricted to be imported into or exported from China apply for registration certificates or custom clearance notification from the Solid Waste and Chemical Management Center of China MEP (MEP-SCC) prior to export and import.

Reference & Resource

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