Chemical Weapons Convention
Manufacturers of most organic chemicals -- even common and non-toxic ones -- are generally subject to reporting and inspection requirements under an international treaty known informally as the Chemical Weapons Convention (“CWC”). The theory underlying these requirements is that all countries must be willing to open up their chemical industries to international scrutiny if they want the ability to investigate facilities in other countries suspected of producing chemical weapons. In addition, some seemingly innocuous chemicals and chemical production equipment may have the potential to be diverted to use in producing chemical weapons.
Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. has assisted companies and trade associations on CWC issues since before the treaty entered into force in 1997. Our work in this area has been wide-ranging, and has included the following:
- Advised companies in a variety of industries ( e.g.
, chemicals, electronics, and consumer products) on the extent to which the CWC may apply to their products and operations.
- Prepared requests to a number of CWC National Authorities for determinations of the applicability of their CWC implementing statutes and regulations to particular materials and processes.
- Identified and helped resolve inconsistencies in the way that one company’s facilities, located around the world, made decisions about whether certain materials and operations were subject to the CWC.
- Reviewed draft declarations of past chemical production activities and anticipated future activities for facilities in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, taking into account the unique requirements in some countries ( e.g.
, regulation of additional chemicals, licensing of CWC-regulated facilities, and limited reporting by “unregulated” facilities).
- Developed company-specific guidance on CWC reporting to highlight issues of particular importance to the company’s facilities and to ensure a consistent approach to reporting.
- Formulated strategies for key CWC reporting issues, such as how to address confidentiality, changes in facility ownership, sites with multiple owners/operators, contract manufacturing, and delineation of individual plants within a plant site.
- Helped one client create and implement a system to ensure that annual CWC declarations are filed in a timely fashion and reflect changes in products and operations at company facilities.
- Prepared facilities in several countries for CWC inspections by officials with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (“OPCW”), based in The Hague. For example, helped prepare Inspection Briefings for facilities that produce “scheduled” chemicals, “PSF” chemicals ( i.e.
, organic chemicals containing phosphorus, sulfur, or fluorine), and other unscheduled “Discrete Organic Chemicals.”
- Provided on-site representation to facilities undergoing CWC inspections, taking the lead in key discussions with representatives of both the OPCW and the relevant CWC National Authorities. In the United States, also worked with officials from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), the Department of Defense’s Defense Treaty Inspection Readiness Program (“DTIRP”), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”).
- Developed a detailed guidance manual on inspections for a company with CWC-regulated facilities throughout the world.