Dramatic growth in chemicals production and trade during the past three decades has highlighted the potential risks posed by hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Countries lacking adequate infrastructure to monitor the import and use of such substances are particularly vulnerable. The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade aims to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides to better safeguard human health and the environment. The Convention has introduced a mandatory prior informed consent (PIC) procedure to monitor and control the import and export of hazardous chemicals and disseminate national importing decisions to all Parties to the Convention. There are a total of 50 chemicals listed in Annex III of the Convention, 34 pesticides (including 3 severely hazardous pesticide formulations), 15 industrial chemicals, and 1 chemical in both the pesticide and the industrial chemical categories.
The Rotterdam Convention was adopted on 10 September, 1998 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Convention entered into force on 24 February, 2004. The PRC signed the Rotterdam Convention on 24 August, 1999 and ratified the Convention on 22 March, 2005. The Convention became applicable to the PRC and the HKSAR on 20 June, 2005 and 26 August, 2008 respectively.
The non-pesticide hazardous chemicals listed in the Annex III to the Convention are controlled under the Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance (Cap. 595) and the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60).
The Rotterdam Convention text and related information can be found at the Convention's website: http://www.pic.int.