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Switzerland propose WTO to amend its mercury regulations

Switzerland propose WTO to amend its mercury regulations

GENEVA: Switzerland notified the World Trade Organization Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of proposed amendments to its regulations covering mercury.

Reportedly, proposed amendments are to be made to; the Ordinance on the Prevention and Disposal of Waste: according to which, mercury and its compounds no longer used in processes or gained from the treatment of waste shall be considered as mercury waste from 1 January 2021. This will be permanently disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. The principle does not apply to permitted uses; and

Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance, ORRChem: any person wishing to import or export mercury or its compounds needs an authorization from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). This will be granted if used for research purposes. In addition, an export authorization can be granted until 31 December 2020, if it will be used in the manufacturing of gas discharge lamps, dental amalgam or the maintenance of seam-welding machines. Import authorizations will also be granted for a permitted use.

Furthermore, the existing restrictions shall be amended with a ban on the marketing of mercury-added products, intended for uses that are not known before 31 December 2017, and the use of mercury or its compounds for the manufacturing of such new products.

In addition, the existing ban on use of dental amalgam will be supplemented with an export ban from 1 January 2021.

The proposed date of adoption is 1 November and the final date for comments is 31 March.