Mexico’s chemicals industry body is developing an alternative chemicals management proposal to the one presented by the country’s health authority, in collaboration with international trade associations.
In a 4 May notice, Aniq said it is seeking a regime that would allow its members to trade internationally and avoid “commercial barriers”.
Mexico’s General Health Council (CSG) proposed an overarching national chemicals policy late last year that would place the burden of proof on companies to show substances they import or use in the country are safe, and allow the government to restrict or ban those that pose an “unacceptable risk” (see box).
But the proposal generated “a certain degree of curiosity and concern” among industry organisations, Aniq’s notice said. It did not respond to Chemical Watch’s request to expand on these concerns, but the trade association has previously highlighted the proposal’s divergence from the agreement made in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to align chemical risk management measures across the North America region.
Aniq has now formed a working group for its member companies to develop an alternative proposal that “at least conceptually, develops a new mechanism for the management of chemicals in Mexico”.
It is discussing this with representatives from the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), it said. The associations have agreed to consult with Latin American trade bodies “in order to comment on it and define a joint agenda that will allow the chemical industry sector to improve the management of chemical substances.”
The ACC and ICCA have suggested implementing a “cooperation strategy for the regulation of chemical substances in Latin America”, according to the notice. The ICCA would coordinate this, providing training courses for companies and governments in the region, facilitating information exchange and financing an expert adviser.
The associations would also hold monthly meetings to discuss next steps for the strategy, it said, adding that these meetings could also lead to the development of regional position papers for international processes like the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Saicm).
The ACC declined to comment on the cooperation strategy or its position on Mexico’s proposal. It reiterated its previous statement that a risk-based approach to regulating chemicals “is the preferred approach throughout North America.”
Aniq did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
The ICCA, Unep and others have hosted two workshops for Latin American industry associations and governments, with the aim of developing “homogenised regulatory frameworks” in the region. The latest was hosted in November 2019.
Chemical Watch, 27 May 2020