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Q1:

What are the chemicals controlled under the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance ?

Q2:

What activities are prohibited by the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance?

Q3:

Under the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance, are all facilities handling CWC scheduled chemicals required to apply for a permit ?

Q4:

According to the Ordinance, a facility that requires a permit to operate, should submit annual reports to the Director-General of Trade and Industry. What kind of information should be included in the reports?

Q5:

When should I apply for a permit and how should I submit the permit application?

Q6:

Do you charge for permit application?

Q7:

What is Unscheduled Discrete Organic Chemicals (UDOCs)?

Q8:

How can I determine if a chemical is a scheduled chemical or a UDOC?

Q9:

What kind of information should be submitted by a facility producing UDOCs exceeding the specified thresholds?

Q10:

If I only produce UDOCs in small quantity, do I need to notify the Director-General of Trade and Industry about such production? What is the threshold?

Q11:

Are there any exemptions on the annual reporting/notification requirements?

Q12:

My company occasionally handles import and re-export of chemicals. If the chemical which I import happen to be one controlled under the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance, do I need to apply for a permit?

Q13:

Are there any restrictions on the import and export on CWC Scheduled chemicals?

Q14:

What is 'routine inspection' referred under the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance?

Q15:

Which facilities will be subject to on-site inspections conducted by the officers of the Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department and inspectors of the Organisation for the Prohibiting of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)?

   
A1: Chemicals controlled under the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance are grouped into three Schedules in accordance with the Convention itself. Some general notes on the chemicals under the three Schedules are set out below.
  • Schedule 1 lists chemicals considered to pose a high risk to the object and purpose of the CWC by virtue of their high potential for use in activities prohibited by the CWC. These chemicals have little or no use for peaceful purposes in commercial or industrial trade. Among them are chemicals that have actually been produced, stockpiled or used as weapons, such as VX, sarin, mustard, as well as two biological toxins - ricin and saxitoxin.

  • Schedule 2 lists toxic chemicals and precursors deemed to pose a significant risk to the object and purpose of the CWC because of their lethal or incapacitating properties. Precursors may be used in the final stage of formation, or may be important for the production of any of the chemicals listed in Schedule 1 or toxic chemicals listed in Schedule 2. Schedule 2 chemicals are not produced in large quantities for commercial or other purposes not prohibited by the CWC, but may be used to manufacture such things as insecticides, herbicides, lubricants or pharmaceutical products.

  • Schedule 3 chemicals are generally produced in large quantities for purposes not prohibited by the CWC. They are thought to represent a risk to the object of the CWC due to their toxicity or to their importance in producing chemicals listed in Schedule 1 or precursors listed in Schedule 2.


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A2: Activities prohibited by the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance include,
  • use a chemical weapon;

  • develop or produce a chemical weapon;

  • have a chemical weapon in his possession;

  • participate (whether directly or indirectly) in the transfer of a chemical weapon;

  • engage in military preparations, or in preparations of a military nature, intending to use a chemical weapon; or

  • assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited under the Convention.



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A3: No. The Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance requires an operator of a facility to obtain a permit issued by the Director-General of Trade and Industry in order to operate the facility during a particular year if the facilities are involved in specified activities, exceeding the specified thresholds, and for specified purposes with regard to scheduled chemicals as set out below -
  1. Schedule 1 chemicals (other than excluded Schedule 1 chemicals) are likely to be produced, acquired, retained or used at, or transferred from, the facility during the year. Schedule 1 chemicals are excluded chemicals in relation to a facility and to a year if -

    1. the total amount of those chemicals likely to be acquired, retained or used at, or transferred from, the facility during the year does not exceed 100 grams;

    2. those chemicals will not be produced at the facility during that year; and

    3. those chemicals are intended only to be put to research, medical or pharmaceutical purposes.

  2. an amount of a Schedule 2 chemical exceeding, in the aggregate, the Schedule 2 permit threshold for that chemical is likely to be produced, processed or consumed at a plant comprising, or comprising part of, the facility during the year. The permit threshold is -

    1. 1 kg for a chemical listed in Part A of Schedule 2 and designated with an "*" ;

    2. 100 kg of a chemical listed in Part A of Schedule 2 but is not designated with an "*" ; or

    3. 1 tonne of a chemical listed in Part B of Schedule 2.

  3. an amount of a Schedule 3 chemical exceeding, in the aggregate, 30 tonnes of that chemical which is likely to be produced at a plant comprising, or comprising part of, the facility during the year.

A permit will be granted to an operator of a chemical facility if the facility produces Schedule 1 chemicals for research, medical or pharmaceutical purposes OR acquires, retains, transfers or uses Schedule 1 chemicals only for research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective purposes; or produces, processes and consumes Schedule 2 chemicals; or produces Schedule 3 chemicals for purposes not prohibited under the CWC. For example, the chemicals shall only be produced, processed and consumed for industrial, agricultural, research, medical, pharmaceutical or other peaceful purposes.

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A4: The requirements vary for different facilities. Information that should be reported to the Director-General of Trade and Industry ("the Director") for different chemicals are available in the website:

Schedule 1 Facilities

Schedule 2 Facilities

Schedule 3 Facilities

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A5: Permit are issued annually and covers the calendar year in which the permit is issued. TID will announce through this website when permit application should be made and the procedures involved. In brief, operators of facilities should fill in an application form and return them in person or by mail to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Unit, Strategic Trade Controls Branch of the Trade and Industry Department, 16/F, Trade and Industry Tower, 3 Concorde Road, Kowloon City.


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A6: Yes. The fee for each permit application is HK$260. A permit is valid until the end of the calendar year in which the permit is issued.

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A7: UDOC refers to any discrete organic chemical not listed under Schedules 1, 2 or 3 of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
UDOC production occurs across a range of industries. Examples include:
  • production of components of cosmetics, detergents, fuel additives;

  • production of pharmaceuticals, inks and dyes, organic fertilizer (e.g. urea), pesticides;

  • synthesis of flavors for the food industry;

  • synthesis of monomers for polymerization;

  • production of alcohol (including through fermentation).

There are many such chemicals which falls under the category of UDOCs. The Chemical Weapons Convention does not provide an exhaustive UDOC list similar to that of the Scheduled Chemicals.

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A8: For scheduled chemicals, you may first check against the chemicals listed under the Schedules which is available in this website. If you have doubt as to whether a chemical falls under Schedule 1, 2 or 3 to the CWC or is a UDOC, you can send a classification request to the CWC Unit of the Strategic Trade Controls Branch, Trade and Industry Department at 16/F, Trade and Industry Tower, 3 Concorde Road, Kowloon City. To facilitate examination, the classification request should be made by completing the Classification Request Form which can be downloaded from this website or obtained at our CWC Section.

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A9: Facilities that produced in a calendar year certain UDOCs exceeding the reporting thresholds are required to notify to the Director-General of Trade and Industry ("the Director") the following information on activities for that particular year :
  • the name of the facility, and the name of the owner, company or enterprises operating it and its precise location;

  • details of its main activities;

  • the number of plants at the facility producing UDOCs;

  • production quantity during the previous calendar year of each UDOC.

Any facility that produced during the year UDOCs exceeding 200 tonnes or a particular UDOC that contained one or more of the elements phosphorus, sulphur or fluorine exceeding 30 tonnes are required to submit notifications to the Director. However, facilities that produced only hydrocarbons and explosives during the year are not subject to the notification requirement.

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A10: According to The Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance, operators of facilities producing UDOCs are not required to obtain a permit from the Director to operate their facilities, but they are required to submit annual notifications to the Director if the productions of the UDOCs during a year exceed the specific thresholds laid down in the CWC. The thresholds are :
  1. the amount of the UDOCs produced at the facility during the year before the notification was more than 200 tonnes; or

  2. during the year before the notification -

    1. more than 30 tonnes of a particular UDOC was produced at a plant comprising, or comprising part of, the facility; and

    2. that particular UDOC contained one or more of the element phosphorus, sulphur or fluorine.



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A11: Yes, the CWC provides the following exemptions on annual reports/notifications requirements:
  1. annual reports need not cover the following chemical mixtures, but facilities handling such chemical mixtures are still required to obtain a permit from the Director to operate:

    • Chemical mixtures containing 1% or less of a Schedule 2A or 2A * chemical;

    • Chemical mixtures containing more than 1% but less than or equal to 10% of a Schedule 2A or 2A * chemical, provided that the annual amount produced, processed, or consumed is less than the relevant verification thresholds specified under the Convention 1, and

    • Chemical mixtures containing 30% or less of a Schedule 2B or a Schedule 3 chemical.

  2. UDOC facilities are exempted from notification requirements if they produce explosives or hydrocarbons exclusively.

1 The relevant verification thresholds specified in paragraph 12 of Part VII of the Verification Annex to Chemical Weapons Convention are

  1. 10 kg of a chemical designated "*" in Schedule 2, part A;

  2. 1 tonne of any other chemical listed in Schedule 2, part A; or

  3. 10 tonnes of a chemical listed in Schedule 2, part B.

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A12: The Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance imposes permit requirement on facilities depending on the schedule which a chemical falls into. For Schedule 1 chemicals, a permit is required if the facility produces, acquires, retains, uses, or transfers such chemicals except if the quantity acquired, retained, used, or transferred is below 100g for a calendar year and the chemicals are intended to be used for research, medical and pharmaceutical purposes only. For Schedule 2 chemicals, permit is required if the facility produces, processes or consumes such chemicals at the facility; for Schedule 3 chemicals, a permit is required if it produces such chemicals at the facility. Facilities only need to apply for a permit if their activities for the chemicals concerned fall under any of the above.

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A13: Import and export of all CWC scheduled chemicals are required to be covered by valid licences issued by the Director-General of Trade and Industry before shipment. Such requirement is laid down in the Import and Export Ordinance, Cap.60, Laws of Hong Kong. In addition to the licensing requirements, certain conditions which are laid down in the CWC must also be complied with. Please refer to the relevant circular issued by the Trade and Industry Department for details.

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A14: Routine inspections are conducted by small teams of officers from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to verify:
  • the consistency of the levels of production, processing, or consumption with the declaration;

  • the absence of undeclared Schedule 1 chemicals; and

  • the non-diversion of scheduled chemicals for activities prohibited by the CWC.

Among other things, the officers might take samples, interview facility personnel or examine records. A routine inspection conducted by the OPCW does not suggest that a facility may be violating the provisions of the CWC.

A pre-inspection meeting will be held and inspectors are briefed on details of the plant site and declared activities (along with aspects such as health and safety requirements), and inspection activities discussed. The duration of the inspection will depend on the type and characteristics of the facility.

The notification period for inspection conducted by OPCW can be very short. According to the Convention, inspection notifications may be given to a state party in as short as 24 hours before the arrival of the OPCW inspection team. For inspections to be carried out at Schedule 2 facilities, the State Party may be notified in 48 hours before arrival of the inspection team at the plant site to be inspected while the advance notification period is 120 hours for Schedule 3 and UDOC facilities. Facilities are therefore advised to keep the relevant records in a systematic manner to prepare for such inspections to take place.

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A15: The Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance empowers officers of the Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department to conduct inspections on facilities that require a permit or make notifications to the Director-General of Trade and Industry regardless of the nature and extent of the chemical activities carried out at the facilities. Facilities may be subject to routine inspections by OPCW if their activities exceed the inspection thresholds stipulated under the CWC, which vary for different chemicals as follows:
  • Schedule 1 facilities that produced during the previous year or anticipate producing in the next year in excess of 100 grams aggregate of Schedule 1 chemicals shall be subject to routine inspections to be conducted by OPCW inspectors.

  • Schedule 2 plant sites that comprise one or more plants which produced, processed, or consumed a Schedule 2 chemical during the previous year or anticipate doing so in the next year, have varying inspection thresholds based on the chemical:

    - 10 kg for a chemical listed in Part A of Schedule 2 and designated with an " * " ;

    - 1 tonne for a chemical listed in Part A of Schedule 2 but is not designated with an "*" ; or

    - 10 tonnes for chemicals listed in Part B of Schedule 2.

  • Schedule 3 plant sites that comprise one or more plants which produced during the previous year or anticipate producing in the next year more than 200 tonnes aggregate of any Schedule 3 chemical will be subject to OPCW inspections.

UDOC plant sites may will be subject to OPCW inspections if they produced in excess of 200 tonnes aggregate of UDOCs or in excess of 200 tonnes of a PSF-chemical.


 
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Last Revision Date : 25 August 2017