Cefic – the EU chemical industry council – recently consolidated its commitment to preventing misuse of chemicals as weapons.
Stakeholders from the European chemical industry, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) technical secretariat, the national authority of France, the World Customs Organisation, the European Commission and the European Space Agency, met last month to share knowledge about the transfer of traded chemicals.
A key point discussed was the issue of transfer discrepancies in traded chemicals – a persistent problem since the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by banning the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons.
National authorities collect information on import and export of controlled chemicals and provide the aggregated results to the OPCW.
But, every year, there are many discrepancies between the figures reported by one country and the trade data reported by other countries.
This is not just a bookkeeping exercise but also raises possible proliferation issues. Following this meeting, a project proposal will be developed to explore where the discrepancies in trade flows stem from and how these can be remedied.
Stakeholders applauded the successes achieved by the Convention – since entering into force nearly 20 years ago, some 2,600 inspections have taken place at over 1,100 industry facilities in 81 nations worldwide.The OPCW greatly appreciated the goodwill shown by Cefic who have strongly committed to furthering this cooperation for the long-term.