The Rotterdam Convention is a multilateral environmental agreement on the import and export of certain hazardous chemicals. Countries make informed decisions to accept the chemicals they are prepared to receive, and exclude those they decide they cannot manage safely.
Article 13 of the Rotterdam Convention outlines information that is to accompany any import and export of certain hazardous chemicals; these include:
- The specific Harmonized System customs code (assigned by the World Customs Organization) for a chemical listed in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention
- GHS labelling and a current safety data sheet in the official language of the importing country (as far as is practicable).
The Department of the Environment and Energy is Australia's Designated National Authority and the lead Australian Government agency administering the Rotterdam Convention.
NICNAS implements the Rotterdam Convention domestically for chemicals intended for industrial use.
Rotterdam Convention — industrial chemicals
The chemicals listed in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention include pesticides and industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by two or more Parties and which the Conference of the Parties has decided to subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.
There are a total of 50 chemicals listed in Annex III, 34 pesticides (including 3 severely hazardous pesticide formulations), 15 industrial chemicals, and 1 chemical in both the pesticide and the industrial chemical categories. The Annex III industrial chemicals subject to Prior Informed Consent are as follows:
Commercial octabromodiphenyl ether
Commercial pentabromodiphenyl ether
Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonates,
1691-99-2, 1763-23-1, 24448-09-7,
|Short chain chlorinated paraffins||85535-84-8|
|Tributyl tin compounds||
1461-22-9, 1983-10-4, 2155-70-6, 24124-25-2|
4342-36-3, 56-35-9, 85409-17-2
Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate
Regulatory obligations for importers and/or exporters
Australia's import decisions for industrial chemicals listed in Annex III reflect the current regulatory status of those chemicals in Australia. Importers and exporters are responsible for remaining informed on the status of Annex III-listed chemicals and their respective import decisions published in the PIC Circular.
Initial inquiries for industrial chemicals should be directed to:
Australian Department of the Environment and Energy
Chemicals and Waste Branch
GPO Box 787
Tel: +61 2 6274 1622
Fax: +61 2 6274 1164
ICNA Regulation11C prohibits the introduction or export of certain industrial chemicals subject to the Rotterdam Convention. This means that it is unlawful to introduce or export some Annex III listed industrial chemicals without written approval from the NICNAS Director.
Pursuant to section 106(5) of the ICNA Act, it is an offence to import, manufacture or export industrial chemicals in contravention of an international agreement to which Australia is a party. The associated penalty for noncompliance is 300 penalty units.
Exporting or importing an Annex III listed chemical
The following two scenarios will incur a fee of $920 to process an annual authorisation to export certain industrial chemicals under the PIC procedure of the Rotterdam Convention (we call these category A exports):
(1) Exporters seeking an annual authorisation to export Annex III listed industrial chemicals to a country that is a party to the convention and has provided an import response that gives consent for the import to occur, or gives consent for the import to occur subject to specified conditions that can be met; or
(2) Exporters who seeks an annual authorisation to export an Annex III listed industrial chemical to a country that is not a party to the convention.
Processing export notifications to export certain industrial chemicals under the PIC procedure of the Rotterdam Convention will incur a fee of $1,990, which will apply to the following two scenarios (we call these category B exports):
(1) Exporters who seek an export notification to be processed by NICNAS to export an Annex III listed industrial chemical to a country that is a party to the convention, but has not provided an import response to the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat for the subject chemical; or
(2) Exporters who seek an export notification to be processed by NICNAS to export an Annex III listed industrial chemical to a country that is a party to the convention, but has provided an import response to the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat for the subject chemical of 'no consent' or with conditions of use that require negotiation.
Processing an annual authorisation to introduce certain industrial chemicals under the PIC procedure of the Rotterdam Convention will incur a fee of $1,990—currently this applies to the import or manufacture of tetraethyl lead.
(1) Tetraethyl lead can only be introduced in aviation gasoline (avgas), or for use in the production of avgas;
(2) The tetraethyl lead is introduced:
- in a leaded fuel or fuel additive; and
- by a person in respect of whom an approval granted under subsection 13 (1) of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000 is in force at the time of introduction; and
- for the purpose of a supply that is specified in the approval.
If you intend to import tetraethyl lead in circumstances other than the above-mentioned scenario you may have regulatory obligations—please contact NICNAS.
Submission of either an annual authorisation or export notification application will not be processed by NICNAS until accompanied by both the appropriate payment and Payment Options Form.
Once an application has been submitted to NICNAS and has been determined to meet the appropriate criteria for vetting, your payment will be processed and will be non-refundable.
Visit the Rotterdam Convention / PIC homepage.
Call NICNAS on (02) 8577 8800 or Freecall 1800 638 528 or send your question via the Contact us form.
Last update 30 January 2019