Regulation (EU) 649/2012 affects all European Union based companies involved in the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals to non-EU countries. It is commonly known as the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation.
Its aim is to share information on hazardous chemicals, including how to store, transport, use and dispose of these chemicals safely.
The PIC Regulation requires exporters in EU Member States to notify their intention to export certain chemicals to countries outside the EU. In addition to the notification requirement, the export of some chemicals also requires the explicit consent of the importing country.
Detailed information and guidance on how to comply with the PIC Regulation can be found on the European Chemical Agency's website.
About Prior Informed Consent (PIC)
In 1999, the United Kingdom signed the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC), which allows signatories to monitor and control the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals.
In the European Union, Regulation (EU) 649/2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals implements the Rotterdam Convention and is the latest in a series of such regulations on international chemicals trade dating back to 1992.
It promotes shared responsibility and co-operation and allows countries that are importing certain hazardous chemicals to specify conditions that the imported chemicals must meet.
It aims to protect human health and the environment by providing developing countries with information on how to store, transport, use and dispose of hazardous chemicals safely.
This regulation also includes chemicals from the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS) the export of which is banned.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) are the Designated National Authorities for the UK. HSE provides information on Regulation (EU) 649/2012 on behalf of the UK Designated National Authorities.
What is the Designated National Authority?
Regulation (EU) 649/2012 requires that Member States designate an Authority to carry out the administrative functions of the regulation; and that has responsibility for controlling imports and exports of chemicals covered by the Regulation; and provide for appropriate sanctions in the event of infringements.
The Biocidal Products and Chemicals (Appointment of Authorities and Enforcement) Regulations 2013 establishes the Health and Safety Executive as the Designated National Authority for Great Britain.
Who enforces PIC in Great Britain?
Enforcement of PIC in Great Britain is carried out jointly by the Health and Safety Executive: HM Revenue and Customs and the Border Force.
What powers do enforcing authorities have?
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the European Community Customs Code provide enforcing authorities with a range of tools to secure compliance with the law and to ensure a proportionate response to criminal offences.
Importing and exporting chemicals in to Great Britain
For businesses wanting to trade into GB from 1 January 2020 please see the HSE (GB) website:
- Export and import of hazardous chemicals from and into Europe (Prior Informed Consent) - HSE (GB) website
HSE (GB)'s Helpdesk:
Prior Informed Consent - Waivers
If you are a NI-based company planning to export a chemical listed in Part 2 or 3 of Annex I to the PIC Regulation, the importing country where you intend to export needs to give their consent before you can export the chemical. If the importing country does not respond to your designated national authority’s request for explicit consent, you may propose a waiver to the explicit consent requirement.
A new factsheet on waivers that can be found at the following link:
- European Chemicals Agency (Understanding PIC)
- ePIC - Prior Informed Consent IT system -European Chemicals Agency
- Guidance on PIC - European Chemicals Agency
- Rotterdam convention website
- Stockholm convention website
- Regulation (EU) 649/2012 - Office Journal of the European Union (pdf format)
- The Biocidal Products and Chemicals (Appointment of Authorities and Enforcement) Regulations 2013 - source legislation.gov.uk
- HM Revenue and Customs - GOV.UK
- Border Force - GOV.UK
- European County Customs Code - EUR-LEX