Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Despite my lack of bona fides in the field, I do help companies import and export chemicals. Hence, I was interested to see the introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010. This is essentially a re-write of the current Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The proposed law flips much of the responsibility for proving chemicals to be safe from the current EPA to the companies involved in the production or sale of the merchandise.
Rather than regurgitate (also a nice technical term) my own summary of the bill, here is a link to a summary prepared by its sponsor, Senator Lautenberg. The text of the bill itself is available here.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Phase I makes significant and immediate improvements to the existing system and establishes the framework necessary to create the new system, including making preparations for any legislative proposals. This phase includes implementing specific reform actions already in process and initiating review of new ones.
- Control List – refine, understand, and harmonize definitions to end jurisdiction confusion between the two lists; establishes new independent control criteria to be used to screen items for control into new tiered control list structure.
- Licensing – implement regulatory-based improvements to streamline licensing processes and standardize policy and processes to increase efficiencies.
- Enforcement – synchronize and de-conflict enforcement by creation of an Enforcement Fusion Center.
- IT – determine enterprise-wide needs and begin the process to reduce confusion by creating a single U.S. Government (USG) point of entry for exporters.
Phase II results in a fundamentally new U.S. export control system based on the current structure later this year. This phase completes deployment of specific Phase I reforms and initiates new actions contingent upon completion of Phase I items. Congressional notification will be required to remove munitions list controls or transfer items from the munitions list to the dual-use list, and additional funding will be required both for enhanced enforcement and the IT infrastructure.
- Control List – restructure the two lists into identical tiered structures, apply criteria, remove unilateral controls as appropriate, and submit proposals multilaterally to add or remove controls.
- Licensing – complete transition to mirrored control list system and fully implement licensing harmonization to allow export authorizations within each control tier to achieve a significant license requirement reduction which is compatible with national security equities.
- Enforcement – expand outreach and compliance.
- IT – transition toward a single electronic licensing system.
Phase III completes the transition to the new U.S. export control system. Legislation would be required for this phase:
- Control List – merge the two lists into a single list, and implement systematic process to keep current.
- Licensing – implement single licensing agency.
- Enforcement – consolidate certain enforcement activities into a Primary Enforcement Coordination Agency.
- IT – implement a single, enterprise-wide IT system (both licensing and enforcement).