Reported trade of hazardous chemicals increased after Brexit
ECHA’s latest annual report on trade in certain hazardous chemicals banned or severely restricted in the EU shows that exports from the EU increased by 19% in 2021 compared to 2020. A total of 791 576 tons of PIC chemicals were exported during the year.
Export of PIC chemicals.
Exports of benzene – used, for example, to make plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, dyes and rubber lubricants – rose 143% to about 187 000 tons in 2021. Non-EU countries mainly imported benzene for use in the petrochemical industry and for analytical research and development. While ethylene dichloride (1,2-dichloroethane) – an industrial chemical used mainly for PVC production and as a solvent – remains the most exported PIC chemical for the third year in a row.
Top 6 exported chemicals and their shares from the 2021 total
Germany largest exporter of PIC chemicals
As in previous years, Germany exported the largest volumes of PIC chemicals, although volumes were down 13% from 2020. The Netherlands reported a significant increase, mainly due to volumes of benzene exported to the United Kingdom (UK). This was not reported in the past because it was part of internal market trade.
Imports of PIC chemicals
As a non-EU country, the UK also contributed significantly to the increase in imports to the EU. The total amount of PIC chemicals imported into the EU in 2021 was 883 120 tons, which is 120% more than in 2020. About 284 000 tons came from the UK.
Top 6 exporting Member States in 2021 and fluctuation compared to 2020
EU benzene imports also increased
In the same trend as exports, benzene imports to the EU also increased. The 500,000 tons imported represented about 57% of the total amount of PIC chemicals imported into the EU in 2021. Ethylene dichloride (1,2-dichloroethane) was again the second most imported PIC chemical. Of the 343,000 tons imported into the EU during the year, nearly 73% came from the UK.
Top 6 exporting non-EU countries and their shares from 2021
Article 10 of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation requires importers and exporters to provide information on annual trade in chemicals listed in Annex I of the Regulation to their designated national authorities by March 31 of the following year. Each EU country must then provide the aggregated information to ECHA so that it can be summarized at the EU level and non-confidential information made publicly available.
24 countries provided data to ECHA on EU exports of PIC chemicals in 2021, from 532 exporters. Three EU countries and Northern Ireland stated they had not exported any PIC chemicals. 22 EU countries provided data on imports of PIC chemicals into the EU in 2021 from 195 importers. Five EU countries and Northern Ireland stated they had not imported any PIC chemicals. There was a 6% increase in the number of exporters and 42% in importers as exports and imports to and from the UK fell within the scope of annual reporting for the first time.
- Report on 2021 imports and exports of chemicals listed in Annex I to PIC [EN] [PDF].
- Annual reports on PIC exports and imports.
- Annex I chemicals
- Understanding PIC
This information has been compiled with the greatest possible care, in some cases from different information sources. (Interpretation) errors are not excluded. No legal obligation can therefore be derived from this text. Everyone dealing with this subject has the responsibility to delve into the matter!