A report published by the US Trade Representative reveals recently adopted or proposed chemical related developments in Asia to be vexing the industry.
In its most recent annual report, the agency responsible for developing international trade is concerned about activity in Asia, particularly with certain draft implementing regulations that have yet to be adopted.
For example; South Korea's newly adopted Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (K-REACH) is giving US firms cause for concern due to “the high costs and potential release of sensitive business information involved with the only representative reporting system, and the regulation of chemicals registered in a gap period between 2012 and 2014.”
The US industry is also revealed to be concerned with cosmetics activity in Taiwan and China.
Complex pre-registering requirements
A voluntary existing chemicals nomination (ECN) programme from 2010 is requiring US businesses that deal with chemicals in Taiwan to register those chemicals under the mandatory new chemical substance notification (NCN) program.
The report says this “is expected to be complex and time consuming”, and remains undefined because the regulations for implementing the changes made to the Labour Safety and Health Law in 2013 have not yet been adopted.
However; Taiwan's Council for Labour Affairs may give an adjustment period for companies that did not register their substances in the program, but this has yet to be confirmed. If companies pre-register those substances, they will get a longer grace period to register them.
Taiwan is due to hold a third nomination round in June and July this year for substances handled during the period from 1 January 1993 to 31 December 2011, which will also affect US businesses.
US making efforts to align divide on cosmetic standards
US representatives have also been in talks with EU regulatory experts to enhance regulatory coherence and compatibility and possible elements for a chapter on technical barriers to trade going beyond WTO disciplines.
The continents launched negotiations on the so-called 'Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership' late last year, and Europe is hopeful that the deal will also include financial regulation and markets-related activity, since the EU and US account for 80% of global financial transactions.
Both sides are hoping that these talks will help to align their domestic standards in this instance, and that they will be able to set the benchmark for developing global rules – beneficial for both EU and US exporters, as well as for the multilateral trading system.