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United States Department of State

Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs


The European Union (EU) and its administrative arm, the European Commission, have been active collaborators in international cooperation to regulate chemicals to prevent their diversion to illicit drug manufacture. The European Union Chemical Regulation, originally promulgated to meet the chemical control provisions of the 1988 UN Convention, has been amended to include the more comprehensive recommendations of the Chemical Action Task Force. The amended regulation became binding on all EU members on January 1, 1993. The EU regulation includes provision for record keeping on transactions in the chemicals listed in the 1988 UN Convention, requires a system or permits or declarations for exports and imports of regulated chemicals and authorizes governments to suspend shipments of them. EU member states implement the regulation through national laws.

In 1995, the European Commission followed through to completion initiatives begun in 1994 to negotiate chemical control agreements with Latin American importers of European-origin chemicals. Agreements were signed in December 1995 with Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

Germany and The Netherlands remain the two major European source countries for chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs. They have large chemical manufacturing and trading sectors and significant trade with drug-producing areas.

Germany. Germany is the world's foremost manufacturer of pharmaceuticals. In addition, virtually all types of precursor and essential chemicals are manufactured and/or traded by the vast German chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

Germany is a party to the 1988 UN Convention and it has implemented the EU chemical regulation that came in effect in December 1993. The industry generally complies with the implementing laws and regulations and most companies are cooperative with law enforcement agencies in investigations of suspected diversion of both controlled and non- controlled chemicals.

US/German law enforcement cooperation in chemical control is good, including sharing of information on suspicious chemical transactions in the normal course of this cooperation. During 1995, close cooperation between the DEA Frankfurt regional office and the German Federal Police Chemical Division Group resulted in the suspension of several large shipments of ephedrine and essential chemicals intended for Central and South America.

The Netherlands. The Netherlands has laws and regulations in conformity with the 1988 UN Convention, to which it is a party, and the EU chemical regulation. These include record keeping, export licensing procedures, requiring information about the shipment, the buyer and the shipper, and import permits.

The Dutch Economic Control Service, which operates under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, has the authority to investigate suspected violations of chemical control laws. The seizure of the chemicals and up to six years in jail are the penalties for violations. The Dutch cooperate closely with the US on chemical control. In 1994, procedures were established for the exchange of records of transactions in regulated chemicals. Law enforcement information is also exchanged in the normal course of cooperation.

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