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.