|The Chemical Weapons Convention has the strong support of industry. The Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA), which represents 193 chemical manufacturing companies (accounting for more than 90 percent of the nation’s productive capacity for basic chemicals) has supported the CWC for more than a decade. The Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association, with over 260 member companies (typically small businesses) supports ratification of the CWC. The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (with over 100 member companies) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (with over 650 member companies and affiliated organizations) support ratification as well.
The CWC will affect approximately 2,000 companies, not 8,000 as critics charge. The impact on small business will be negligible. Approximately 1,800 of the 2,000 companies will do nothing more than check a box regarding the range of Discrete Organic Chemicals (DOCs) they produce. They will not even be required to specify which chemicals they produce. No information will be required regarding imports, exports or domestic shipments.
Only the companies that produce these Discrete Organic Chemicals will be affected by the treaty, not companies that use them. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which represents small business, recently stated its members are not going to be impacted by the Convention.
The small firms affected are unlikely to be subject to inspection, including challenge inspection. The Administration anticipates that any challenge inspections will more likely involve military, rather than commercial facilities.
||Of the approximately 140 companies most likely subject to routine inspections and more detailed reporting requirements, a large proportion are CMA members. The CWC provisions covering commercial facilities were developed with the active participation of industry representatives. Industry helped draft reporting and inspection procedures and protections for confidential business information. Industry has also independently tested reporting and inspection procedures. As CMA has stated, “The Chemical Weapons Convention protects vital commercial interests ... we helped write the provisions. ... Most of the law’s new regulatory requirements will fall on the shoulders of chemical manufacturers. We accept those obligations. The treaty’s reporting and inspection provisions are both reasonable and manageable.”
Critics have charged that Article XI of the CWC will clear the way for U.S. chemical companies to sell dual-use chemicals to countries that pose a proliferation concern to the United States. In fact, CMA has stated that “The Chemical Weapons Convention does not trump U.S. export control laws. Instead, the treaty will expand and improve the effectiveness of U.S. non-proliferation policy by instituting a strong system of multilateral export controls. The CWC does not lower the bar on U.S. non-proliferation policy. It raises the bar for other nations to the same high standard held by the U.S.”
Should the United States fail to ratify the CWC, trade restrictions originally intended to put pressure on rogue states would be imposed on U.S. chemical companies. According to the Chemical Manufacturers Association, these trade restrictions could place at risk $600 million a year in sales, and many jobs.