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ICTA emphasizes the importance of free trade at WTO in face of Covid-19

ICTA emphasizes the importance of free trade at WTO in face of Covid-19

The ability of chemical distributors to deliver the chemicals necessary during the pandemic has been seriously hampered by governments which have introduced export restrictions. In the longer term, precautionary regulations and government-induced localization of supply will further disrupt chemical supply chains. We have three concerns in particular:  

  1. Export restrictions. Open borders enable international division of labor and the utilization of economies of scale. However, at least 72 WTO members have responded to the Covid-19 outbreak by issuing export restrictions. This disrupted supply chains, resulting in unnecessary delays and lost production capacity. The export restrictions have harmed faith in the free trade system. In the longer term the increased uncertainty may delay or even undermine investments decisions.
  2. Precautionary regulations. Even before the outbreak of Covid-19, world trade was already experiencing headwinds due to the tendency of WTO members to create precautionary regulations. Stating the intention to protect their citizens from risks, WTO members implement safety and quality regulations based on the precautionary principle. Such regulations often constitute a form of disguised protectionism by in effect denying market access to foreign products. The pandemic has provided WTO members an incentive to introduce extra precautionary regulations. ICTA believes WTO members should be careful with introducing regulations in response to Covid-19 that may hinder trade.
  3. Local supply chains. Some WTO members now see a need to reinforce local production for certain (chemical) products, thereby interfering with free markets. Look for example at the European Commission, which identifies a need “to promote EU’s strategic autonomy for essential chemicals”. ICTA believes that it is a fallacy to argue that supply chains would be safer if they were solely domestic.

In response to this ICTA has produced a position paper, which has been published on the WTO website, see here. It contains specific actions for WTO to undertake in response to each of the three developments. ICTA has subsequently explained these concerns and solutions to WTO officials based in Geneva. We have also shared our views with ICCA.

ICTA determines 14 Golden Guidelines to ensure warehouse safety

ICTA determines 14 Golden Guidelines to ensure warehouse safety

Working with dangerous chemicals requires continues attention. In order to remind workers of the risks of their work and provide guidance, ICTA has developed the so-called 14 Golden Guidelines. These guidelines contain basic safety precautions that workers must take to ensure their own safety and that of their colleagues.

After determining the 14 Golden Guidelines and the accompanying safety measures, posters have been designed that can be placed at warehouses of ICTA members and their logistical service providers. These posters not only serve as a reminder, but can also be used as a tool for SHE managers to (re)start their conversation on simple safety requirements with staff handling chemicals. 

Webinar occupational safety & health management systems

Webinar occupational safety & health management systems

Workers are among those most exposed to hazardous chemicals and waste in various sectors around the world, and particularly in developing countries, economies in transition and in the informal economy. Strong occupational safety and health management systems (OSH MS) are essential for protecting workers, their families and the wider community from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals. This webinar will provide an overview of ILO’s resources for developing and maintaining OSH management systems, followed by examples from existing national systems. 

A webinar will be organized on Wednesday, 15 July 2020 at 10:00 Geneva time. You can register here

Agenda
1. Introduction to the problem of workers’ exposures to chemicals, ILO role and response: International Labour Standards and OSH management systems
2. Deep dive into particular work-related chemical exposure
3. National management system for chemicals, insights from Malaysia
4. National management system for chemicals, insights from ​Switzerland
5. Q&A