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The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA) expressed numerous international trade concerns that it has with the European Union’s REACH regulation to delegates attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference on Standards and Conformance on August 11 in Cuzco, Peru.

SOCMA participated as part of the United States delegation to the conference, which included the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the United States Department of Commerce. Jim DeLisi, president of Fanwood Chemical and Chair of SOCMA’s International Trade Committee, represented SOCMA as a U.S. Delegate to the APEC meeting. The forum’s goal was to enhance technical cooperation and promote trade facilitation of APEC member countries, and it included a discussion on regulations as restrictions to trade.

Among the concerns expressed was the mandated use of a foreign-based “Only Representative” by a U.S.-based company to comply with REACH. DeLisi discussed the high costs of having to use these representatives, their lack of availability and accountability, and the independence that they are afforded by representing U.S. businesses. Other concerns included the disclosure of confidential business information, the potential to breach U.S. anti-trust laws, overall costs to companies to implement REACH and doubts about the European Chemicals Agency’s ability to effectively administer REACH.

“As we expected, REACH has quickly become an unwieldy exercise on how not to regulate chemicals. It will continue to be so for many years, with millions of dollars having been spent and little or no conclusive public health data,” said Joseph Acker, president of SOCMA. “The APEC conference in Cuzco provided us as U.S. manufacturers an important opportunity to share our experiences about REACH with our international brethren in hopes that they will not follow the European approach. From our perspective, our effort was successful.”

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