Background

The Bureau of Industry and Security is seeking comments by Jan. 10 on the impact that implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, through the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act and the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations, had on commercial activities involving Schedule 1 chemicals in 2018. Comments received in response to this inquiry will assist BIS in the preparation of its annual certification to Congress on whether the legitimate commercial activities and interests of chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical firms in the U.S. are being significantly harmed by the CWC’s limitations on access to and production of those chemicals and toxins listed in Schedule 1.

The CWC imposes a number of obligations on countries that have ratified it, including the enactment of legislation to prohibit the production, storage, and use of chemical weapons. It also requires states parties to implement a comprehensive data declaration and inspection regime to provide transparency and to verify that both the public and private sectors are not engaged in prohibited activities.

The provisions of the CWC that affect commercial activities involving Schedule 1 chemicals are implemented in the CWCR and the Export Administration Regulations. The CWCR prohibit imports of Schedule 1 chemicals from, and exports to, states not party to the CWC and require advance notification and annual reporting of all imports and exports of Schedule 1 chemicals to or from other states parties. These regulations also:

- restrict commercial production of Schedule 1 chemicals to research, medical, or pharmaceutical purposes;

- require annual declarations by certain facilities engaged in the production of Schedule 1 chemicals in excess of 100 grams aggregate per calendar year for purposes not prohibited by the CWC;

- provide for government approval of declared Schedule 1 facilities;

- provide that declared Schedule 1 facilities are subject to initial and routine inspection by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; and

- require 200 days advance notification of the establishment of new Schedule 1 production facilities producing greater than 100 grams aggregate of Schedule 1 chemicals per calendar year.

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