Thursday, March 5, 2009
REACH Hits Malaysia - Chemical Control Meets Free Trade?
A work plan is being developed by a group trying to implement a Malaysian version of Europe's Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program. The work group includes the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia (CICM), and other relevant government agencies.
The MITI Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, warned that any legislation implemented for health and environment reasons should not impede the free flow of trade. This has been a major concern for companies both inside and outside Europe regarding REACH. Mr. Yassin insisted that "such regulations should be simple, harmonised and not incur additional expenses to the cost of doing business in the industry."
The goal, therefore, is to assist small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in complying with the European Union-REACH regulation and the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). While larger companies often have significant resources and in-house experts, SMEs often have quite limited resources.
In his prepared remarks, which were read by the deputy minister of MITI at the International Conference on Chemical Control Legislation (ChemCon Asia 2009) being held in Kuala Lumpur, he said that the world is increasingly becoming smaller due to globalisation and what affects the chemical industry in Europe will have a direct and indirect impact on it in Asia and vice versa.
Malaysia is the most recent in implementing a series of changes in the chemical control field as REACH takes hold in Europe, Canada is well into evaluating its inventory of existing chemicals, Japan adjusts its chemical control legislation, and the US begins its hearings looking at how to "reform TSCA."