On July 14, 2022, China State Council issued a notice to elaborate its legislative work plan for 2022, which urges various departments to arrange legislative work in a scientific and rational manner.
2022 legislative work mainly includes:
16 draft laws are proposed to be deliberated by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, concerning customs duties, value-added tax, mineral resources, etc. Moreover, there are 26 draft laws ready to be submitted for such deliberation, e.g., the Law on Safety of Hazardous Chemicals.
16 administrative regulations are proposed to be formulated or revised, concerning carbon emission trading, urban-mass transportation, safety and protection of radioisotope and radiation devices, etc.
The notice stressed that organization and leadership must be enhanced to ensure high-quality and efficient implementation of the legislative work plan.
For chemical enterprises, especially those involved in handling hazardous chemicals, great importance shall be attached to the Law on Safety of Hazardous Chemicals (hereinafter referred to as the Law), which establishes a hazardous chemicals information management system, and implements electronic identification and whole life cycle information management of hazardous chemicals. It is an important legislation poised to regulate China’s hazardous chemicals in place of the Regulations on the Control over Safety of Hazardous Chemicals1 (a.k.a. Decree 591).
Timeline of the legislation progress of the Law:
In late 2017, the first draft of the Law was released, which was drafted in the wake of the 2015 Tianjin blasts.
In June 2019, following the institutional reform of the Chinese government and the 2019 Xiangshui chemical plant explosion, the legislation of the Law was accelerated.
In October 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) published the third draft2 to solicit public comments and suggestions.
In February 2021, some changes were made in certain specific rules of the Law, and this latest version3 was submitted for deliberation at the executive meeting of the MEM.
In 2022, the Law is ready for the first reading at the NPC Standing Committee...
Although the Law will not come out very soon as it needs to pass three readings, we expect that great progress will be made in the coming future. In recent years, China has been actively engaged with promoting the legislation work regarding safety of hazardous chemicals. Take the year of 2022 for an example, there are many updates on other related regulations and standards in addition to the Law, including:
The Regulation on Environmental Management of Toxic and Hazardous Chemical Substances (previously known as the draft Regulations on Environmental Risk Assessment and Control of Chemical Substances4 when drafted in 2019 for the first time) is under preparation;
The revisions to four regulations regarding safety management of hazardous chemicals, i.e., Measures for the Administration of Hazardous Chemicals Safe Production Permit5, Measures for the Administration of Hazardous Chemicals Safe Use Permit6, Provisions on the Safety Management of Hazardous Chemical Transmission Pipelines7, Measures for the Safety Supervision and Administration of Hazardous Chemicals Construction Project8, have been drafted and circulated to emergency management administrations at various levels to solicit their comments and opinions (CL news);
Measures for the Administration of Hazardous Chemicals Operation Permit9 is planned to be revised to adjust its applicable scope (CL news);
GB 15258-2009 General Rules for Preparation of Precautionary Label for Chemicals10 is planned to be revised to incorporate QR code requirements.
ChemLinked will keep an eye on the updates of the legislation progress regarding hazardous chemicals. Please stay tuned.