AusBiotech Updates

Survey on chemicals via biomediated processes

11 May 2017: The Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), on behalf of the Australian Government, is inviting chemical production companies to participate in the Survey on Production of Discrete Organic Chemicals via biomediated processes.

The Survey aims to collect information about biomediated processes in the chemical industry to inform the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an international organisation and the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), assessing the extent to which facilities threaten the CWC’s purpose. Declarations and inspections at facilities will only be taken if the risk is greater than the burden posed on industry and National Authorities to the CWC and all State Parties agree to their inclusion. Specific company and contact details will be kept in confidence.

Australian companies who produce more than 200 tonnes (in total) of Discrete Organic Chemicals (DOCs) or than 30 tonnes of PSF-DOC (a Discrete Organic Chemical containing one or more elements of phosphorous, sulphur or fluorine) are encouraged to participate in the Survey.

The Survey’s purpose is driven by recent, significant changes in the international chemical industry. Rapid advances in chemical science and technology pose challenges for verification under the CWC, an arms control treaty that bans the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and their precursors.

The call for review of chemical and biological weapons arms control regimes stems from the increasingly blurred line between the chemical and biotech industries, specifically where biomediation processes are used to produce chemicals.

The Survey can be accessed here. Completed surveys should be sent to chemical.asno@dfat.gov.au by Wednesday 31 May 2017.

ASNO is Australia’s National Authority for the CWC.

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