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Notice

Impact of Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention on Commercial Activities Involving “Schedule 1” Chemicals Through Calendar Year 2006

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of inquiry.

SUMMARY:

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is seeking public comments on the impact that implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, through the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act and the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations, has had on commercial activities involving “Schedule 1” chemicals through calendar year 2006. This notice of inquiry is part of an effort to collect information to assist BIS in its preparation of the annual certification required under Condition 9 of Senate Resolution 75, April 24, 1997, in which the Senate gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

DATES:

Comments must be received by December 8, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  • E-mail: wfisher@bis.doc.gov. Include the phrase “Schedule 1 Notice of Inquiry” in the subject line;
  • Fax: (202) 482-3355 (Attn: Willard Fisher);
  • Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier: Willard Fisher, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Regulatory Policy Division, 14th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Room 2705, Washington, DC 20230.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For questions on the Chemical Weapons Convention requirements for “Schedule 1” chemicals, contact Marcia Brisson, Treaty Compliance Division, Office of Nonproliferation and Treaty Compliance, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Phone: (703) 605-4400. For questions on the submission of comments, contact Willard Fisher, Regulatory Policy Division, Office of Exporter Services, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Phone: (202) 482-2440.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

In providing its advice and consent to the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (the Convention), the Senate included, in Senate Resolution 75 (S. Res. 75, April 24, 1997), several conditions to its ratification of the Convention. Condition 9, titled “Protection of Advanced Biotechnology,” provides that the President shall certify to the Congress on an annual basis that “* * * the legitimate commercial activities and interests of chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical firms in the United States are not being significantly harmed by the limitations of the Convention on access to, and production of, those chemicals and toxins listed in Schedule 1 * * *”. On July 8, 2004, President Bush, by Executive Order 13346, delegated his authority to make the annual certification to the Secretary of Commerce.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction, commonly called the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), is an international arms control treaty that establishes the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to implement the verification provisions of the treaty. The CWC imposes a number of obligations on countries that have ratified the Convention (States Parties), including enactment of legislation to prohibit the production, storage, and use of chemical weapons, and establishment of a National Authority for liaison with the OPCW and other States Parties. The CWC also requires States Parties to implement a comprehensive data declaration and inspection regime to provide transparency and to verify that both the public and private sectors of States Parties are not engaged in activities prohibited under the CWC.

“Schedule 1” chemicals are those toxic chemicals and precursors identified in the Convention as posing a high risk to the object and purpose of the Convention. The “Schedule 1” chemicals are set forth in the Convention's “Annex on Chemicals,” as well as in Supplement No. 1 to part 712 of the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations (15 CFR part 712).

The “Schedule 1” provisions of the Convention that affect commercial activities are implemented through part 712 of the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations and parts 742 and 745 of the Export Administration Regulations, both administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security. These regulations:

(1) Prohibit the import of “Schedule 1” chemicals from States not Party to the Convention (15 CFR 712.2(b));

(2) Require annual declarations by certain facilities engaged in the production of “Schedule 1” chemicals in excess of 100 grams aggregate per calendar year (i.e., declared “Schedule 1” facilities) for purposes not prohibited by the Convention (15 CFR 712.5(a)(1) and (a)(2));

(3) Require government approval of “declared Schedule 1” facilities (15 CFR 712.5(f));

(4) Provide that “declared Schedule 1” facilities are subject to initial and routine inspection by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (15 CFR 712.5(e) and 716.1(b)(1));

(5) Require 200 days advance notification of establishment of new “Schedule 1” production facilities producing greater than 100 grams aggregate of “Schedule 1” chemicals per calendar year (15 CFR 712.4);

(6) Require advance notification and annual reporting of all imports and exports of “Schedule 1” chemicals to, or from, other States Parties to the Convention (15 CFR 712.6, 742.18(a)(1) and 745.1); and Start Printed Page 65458

(7) Prohibit the export of “Schedule 1” chemicals to States not Party to the Convention (15 CFR 742.18(a)(1) and (b)(1)(ii)).

Discussion and Request for Comments

In order to assist in determining whether the legitimate commercial activities and interests of chemical, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical firms in the United States are being significantly harmed by the limitations of the Convention on access to, and production of, “Schedule 1” chemicals, BIS is seeking public comments on any effects that implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, through the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act and the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations, has had on commercial activities involving “Schedule 1” chemicals through calendar year 2006.

Submission of Comments

All comments must be submitted to the address indicated in this notice. The Department requires that all comments be submitted in written form.

The Department encourages interested persons who wish to comment to do so at the earliest possible time. The period for submission of comments will close on December 8, 2006. The Department will consider all comments received before the close of the comment period. Comments received after the end of the comment period will be considered if possible, but their consideration cannot be assured. The Department will not accept comments accompanied by a request that a part or all of the material be treated confidentially because of its business proprietary nature or for any other reason. The Department will return such comments and materials to the persons submitting the comments and will not consider them. All comments submitted in response to this notice will be a matter of public record and will be available for public inspection and copying.

The Office of Administration, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, displays public comments on the BIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Web site at http://www.bis.doc.gov/​foia. This office does not maintain a separate public inspection facility. If you have technical difficulties accessing this Web site, please call BIS's Office of Administration, at (202) 482-1093, for assistance.

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Dated: November 1, 2006.

Christopher A. Padilla,

Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.

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[FR Doc. E6-18904 Filed 11-7-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-33-P