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Hazardous chemicals — rules on import and export

Hazardous chemicals — rules on import and export



Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 — export and import of hazardous chemicals


  • It implements in the EU the Rotterdam Convention on import and export procedures for hazardous chemicals.
  • It ensures that countries receiving certain chemicals from the EU are:
    • informed about the export;
    • asked whether they agree to the export;
    • informed about the safe handling of chemicals to protect human health and the environment from potential harm.



  • The regulation applies to:
    • hazardous chemicals listed under the Rotterdam Convention;
    • chemicals that are banned or severely restricted within the EU;
    • chemicals that are exported.
  • It does not cover:
    • narcotics;
    • radioactive materials;
    • waste;
    • chemical weapons;
    • food and food additives;
    • feed;
    • genetically-modified organisms and some medicines; and
    • chemicals exported for research or analysis in quantities unlikely to affect human health or the environment.
  • The regulation requires proper labelling and packaging of chemicals when they are exported from an EU country.
  • 186 chemicals (pesticides and industrial chemicals) are listed in Annex I and are subject to certain obligations when exported. Hazardous chemicals can either be exported on their own or blended into a mixture or article.
  • This regulation replaces Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 and updates some procedures and terminology that needed to be brought into line with other EU rules. In addition, it involves the European Chemicals Agency in implementing the legal requirements.

How it works

  • The regulation implements the two main procedures of the Convention, i.e. the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) and Information Exchange. It includes export notification in order to inform countries on the trade in certain chemicals, but it also goes further than the Convention, for example, by applying the procedures to exports to all countries, irrespective of whether they are parties to the Convention.
  • The PIC allows importing parties to the Convention to inform exporting parties on whether they agree to imports of the hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention. The regulation requires the explicit consent of the importing country for more chemicals than those listed in the Convention.
  • Each chemical listed in the Convention has a decision guidance document to help governments make a more informed decision. All parties are required to take a decision on allowing imports — known as an import response — and the regulation ensures that import responses are respected for EU exports.
  • Under the Information Exchange mechanism, each party must notify the Convention’s Secretariat when banning a chemical, and must notify the importing parties upon the export of such chemical. The regulation establishes the export notification procedure for EU exports of such chemicals to all importing countries.
  • All chemicals when exported must be labelled and packed according to certain standards and accompanied by basic safety information on a safety data sheet.
  • Each EU country must set up a designated national authority to be responsible for implementing the regulation.
  • The European Commission and EU countries share responsibility within the Convention, in particular in regard to:
    • technical assistance;
    • information-sharing; and
    • matters relating to dispute settlement.


The Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 is the recast version of Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 and its subsequent amendments. It has applied since 1 March 2014.


For more information, see:


Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals (recast) (OJ L 201, 27.7.2012, pp. 60-106)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) No 649/2012 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals (OJ L 204, 31.7.2008, pp. 1-35)

See consolidated version

Council Decision 2006/730/EC of 25 September 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade (OJ L 299, 28.10.2006, p. 23-25)

last update 21.09.2017