The PIC Regulation implements the Convention, which enables countries to obtain information in advance on the import of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides which are banned or severely restricted. The importing country can decide to either approve or reject the import.
According to the Regulation, the hazard information (labelling and safety data sheets) meet the requirements set in the EU. Not all substances given in the Annex to the previous Regulation 689/2008) are included in the new one, 649/2012. Nevertheless, the new Regulation contains all previous amendments.
Technical guidelines for the application of the previous Regulation can be found in the: Communication from the Commission.
The exporter notifies the export outside the EU and the importer approves it
An exporter based in an EU member state shall notify their intention to export certain hazardous chemicals to a country outside the EU. In some cases the recipient country must approve the export in advance.
Annex I to the PIC Regulation lists the chemicals requiring advance notification of their export. Annex V contains a list of chemicals which are banned from export.
The PIC Regulation also requires chemicals for export to be labelled with information about the danger they pose. They shall be packaged according to EU classification and labelling regulations and a safety data sheet shall be attached.
How does the export notification procedure work?
If the substance is listed in Annex I to the PIC Regulation, the exporter shall notify the export by filling in an electronic form. This requires a user name and password so that the exporter is able to fill in the essential details on the form. These details are then entered into a new IT system, the e-PIC Database, for which the European Chemicals Agency ECHA is responsible.
You must log in via the ECHA Account portal before using e-PIC for the first time. ECHA must create a so-called Universal Identifier (LE UUID) for each exporter and importer.
Contact the ECHA Helpdesk to obtain:
- a Universal Identifier (LE UUID), either by registering for your own Echa account or by referring to a Reach IT account already created.
- you can choose to transfer your Reach IT account to an Echa account. Your Reach IT account will still be valid as before, but you can now also use the same account to log into e-PIC.
When the exporter has filled in the details on the form, the Swedish Chemicals Agency will send these to the right contact person in the recipient country. When the recipient country has sent their response together with their approval, the Database activates a special customs number which the exporter shall use at the time of export. This applies to the chemicals listed in parts 2 and 3 of Annex I. If the substance is only listed in part 1 of Annex I, the exporter need not wait for approval but can send the export straight away. Approval is not needed either if the chemical is listed in part 3 of Annex I and the importing country has published a positive import response in the so-called PIC Circular. The responses are published in the database for import responses. However, the exporter must always notify the export to the database.
The Regulation does not apply when exporting chemicals listed in Annex I or Annex V (or mixtures/articles containing such substances) for research and analysis purposes in amounts of 10 kg or less per exporter, per year and per importing country. Such export is thus exempted form the requirements in the Regulation; see Article 2.3 of the Regulation.
In order to make use of the exemption, the exporter must request a special reference number. This is known as creating a special RIN (Reference Identification Number) request; see Article 2.3 second paragraph. The exporter must also create a RIN request in those cases where the importing country has made an exemption from the requirement for information or where export is urgent; see further examples in Article 19.2.
Export is possible without prior approval
The PIC Regulation takes account to a certain extent of the situation arising when no response is received from the recipient country. Export in that case is allowed for a maximum of one year without there first being an import response from the recipient country. The chemical must be licensed, registered or authorised in the country importing it, and the decision to grant a permit for export must be taken by the exporting country in consultation with the European Commission. There are also a number of concessions in the rules governing certain exports to countries which are members of the OECD.
To facilitate customs controls, the Swedish Customs has introduced a code system which identifies each export. Exporters are to state these codes in their export declarations.
Monitoring updates to Annex 1
Annex 1 of the Regulation is updated on a regular basis, normally at least once a year, when new bans come into force in the EU. It is therefore important to go through all the amendments to check whether a particular substance requires export notification or prior approval from the importing country before delivery can take place.
Other rules apply for certain chemicals
Apart from the exemptions for research and analysis, certain categories of chemicals are exempted from the provisions in the PIC Regulation. These are primarily chemicals governed by special EU legislation, such as drugs, radioactive material, waste, foodstuffs and medical products.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency is participating as a Designated National Authority (DNA) in the EU-wide efforts to apply the rules of the Rotterdam Convention and the EU Regulation.