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Ref.:
TRA CR 1015/9/7
TRA CR 1015/9/7/4
6 November 2020
   

Strategic Trade Controls Circular No. 9/2020


Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance, Cap. 578
Permit Requirement for 2021 and Report on Past Activities in 2020

Purpose

          This circular reminds and invites facilities that engage / may engage in specified activities involving Scheduled Chemicals and/or Unscheduled Discrete Organic Chemicals (UDOCs)1 controlled by the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance ("the Ordinance"):

  1. to lodge permit applications for 2021 by 30 November 2020; and
  2. to report whether they were engaged in the specified activities by completing and returning the reply slip at Annex A to the Trade and Industry Department by 21 December 2020.
     


Background

2.            The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced the commencement of the Ordinance by a notice in the Gazette on 20 April 2004.  Subsequently, Strategic Trade Controls Circular No. 17/2004 issued by the Trade and Industry Department on 30 April 2004 informed the industry about the commencement of the Ordinance on 18 June 2004.  The purpose of the Ordinance is to enable the Chemical Weapons Convention ("the Convention"), an international treaty that aims to prohibit the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer and use of chemical weapons, to be fully implemented in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  Please also refer to Strategic Trade Controls Circular No. 14/2003 of 6 August 2003 for an overview of the requirements under the Ordinance.


Permit and Reporting Requirements for Scheduled Chemicals

3.          In accordance with the Ordinance, operators of facilities are required to obtain permits from the Director-General of Trade and Industry ("the Director") if the facilities are engaged in specified activities involving Scheduled Chemicals in quantities over the respective thresholds.  Please refer to Annex B for the list of Scheduled Chemicals and Annex C for the activities and quantity thresholds that trigger the permit requirement.  The Twenty-Fourth Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention approved certain changes to Schedule 1 of the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention. The changes have entered into force since 7 June 2020.  For details, please see Annex B.
 
4.          Permit Application Form (Form P-1) can be downloaded from the Chemical Weapons (Convention) Ordinance Website.  In order to obtain a timely permit for 2021, facility operators are advised to return the completed permit application form by post or in person to Strategic Trade Controls Branch, Room 1619, Trade and Industry Tower, 3 Concorde Road, Kowloon City on or before 30 November 2020.

5.          Permit holders are also required under the Ordinance to lodge annual reports with the Director on their anticipated activities involving Scheduled Chemicals for the coming calendar year before the end of the current year, and their past activities during the previous year at the beginning of the current year.  The information so collected will be used to compile annual declarations for submission to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which was established to implement the Convention. 


Notification Requirement for UDOCs

6.         The Ordinance also requires operators of facilities that produced UDOCs over the threshold quantity to make annual notifications to the Director at the beginning of each year about the past production of UDOCs in their facilities during the previous year.  The information so collected will be used to compile annual declarations for submission to the OPCW.  Please refer to Annex D for the details of the notification requirement.
 

Reply Slip and Report on Past Activities in 2020

7.          In light of the reporting and notification requirements mentioned in paragraphs 5 and 6 above, the Department is sending this circular to individual operators who, according to our knowledge, may be engaged in such activities.  Operators who receive this circular are expected to return the completed reply slip (Annex A) by fax (fax no. 2396 3070), by post or in person to Strategic Trade Controls Branch, Room 1619, Trade and Industry Tower, 3 Concorde Road, Kowloon City on or before 21 December 2020.  
 
8.          Operators who do not receive this circular but believe that their facilities might have been engaged in specified activities involving Scheduled Chemicals and/or UDOCs as listed at Annex C and Annex D in 2020 are also welcome to provide details of the activities by completing and returning the reply slip at Annex A in the same way as mentioned in paragraph 7 above.

9.          After assessing the reply slips, we will contact and assist individual operator to complete and return to us the designated report forms on past activities on or before 11 January 2021
 

Important Note

10.         Facilities subject to the permit or reporting/notification requirements should comply with checks and inspections by authorised officers of the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED).  These checks are mainly aimed at verifying and ensuring the accuracy of the information related to permits and the material particulars in any reports lodged with the Director.  Facilities are therefore reminded to ensure that the information provided in their returns is accurate.  In addition to checks and inspections by C&ED officers, the inspection teams of the OPCW may also conduct inspection of facilities in order to verify any information passed to it about the facilities.  Operators of the facilities are required to provide all the requisite records for the checks and inspections and to render necessary assistance and cooperation to the officers concerned.

Warning

11.         The Ordinance specifies the acts which contravene the Ordinance and the penalty for such offences.  It is an offence under the Ordinance if a person who is required to obtain a permit to operate his facility operates it without such a permit.  The maximum penalty, on conviction, is a fine of HK$500,000 and imprisonment for 5 years.  The Ordinance also provides that the Director may, by notice in writing, require a person to give information or documents relevant to a declaration required to be given to the OPCW.  Any person who fails to comply with such a notice commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment for 1 year
 
 
12.         In addition to the penalty mentioned above, the Trade and Industry Department may take other administrative actions against parties committing the above offences.  Such administrative actions may involve, but shall not necessarily be confined to, any or all of the following: refusal to grant, suspension or revocation of permits, and refusal to issue licences for imports or exports of chemicals.
 

Enquiry

13.         If you have any questions on the permit requirement and application procedures, completion of the reply slip or the Ordinance itself, please contact Jeff TO of the Department at telephone number 2398 5670 or by email at jeffto@tid.gov.hk.

Strategic Trade Controls Branch
Trade and Industry Department

Note 1: Unscheduled Discrete Organic Chemicals (UDOCs) are "Discrete Organic Chemicals" not listed in the Schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention.  "Discrete Organic Chemical" is defined as any chemical belonging to the class of chemical compounds consisting of all compounds of carbon except for its oxides, sulfides and metal carbonates; and identifiable by chemical name; structural formula, if known; and Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) registry number, if assigned.
Last Revision Date : 09 November 2020