From 6 to 17 June, 2022, the Tenth Meeting of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention (COP-10) was held in Geneva, Switzerland. During the conference, paraquat was announced as not being included in the Appendix III of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure. If this becomes reality, the substance would be subject to the PIC in international trade.
The successful defense of paraquat is of profound significance to protecting the Chinese pesticide industry and safeguarding global agricultural security.
The Rotterdam Convention
To protect human health and the environment from certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade, FAO and UNEP launched the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam Convention), which entered into force on 24 February, 2004. Currently, 157 countries or regional economic organization, such as the EU, have ratified the convention.
The convention is not meant to prohibit the use of certain chemicals, but it aims to make member countries adopt a decision-making process for regulating the import and export of certain extremely hazardous chemicals and pesticides - Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure. This will allow importing countries to gain information on the prohibition or restriction of the use of chemicals in question, and decide whether to allow or ban the importation of these chemicals. Accordingly, exporting countries will be informed about the decisions.
The Tenth Meeting of the Rotterdam Convention (COP-10)
Annex III to the convention contains a list of chemicals and pesticides subject to the PIC Procedure. So far, a total of 47 chemicals have been listed in Annex III, including 32 pesticides, 12 industrial chemicals and three pesticide formulations.
The Rotterdam Convention follows the principle of consensus, and requires all chemical or pesticide proposed to be included in Annex III of the Convention to be unanimously approved at the general meeting, meaning that only with unanimous consent can a chemical be included in the annex.
Since the Seventh Meeting of the Rotterdam Convention in 2015, Nanjing Red Sun Co., Ltd. acted positively to safeguard the future of the product. In the Eighth Meeting of the Rotterdam Convention in 2017 and the Ninth Meeting of the Rotterdam Convention in 2019, the company worked hard to hold back the proceedings to not include paraquat in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention.
During this meeting, Chinese pesticide manufacturers, led by Sino-Agri Red Sun (Nanjing) Biological Technology Co., Ltd., in alliance with international paraquat consumers, fully presented paraquat’s key role and irreplaceability in safeguarding global food security. After the joint effort of all parties concerned, it was announced at the meeting that paraquat would not be included in Appendix III of PIC. This was a successful defense of paraquat.
The importance of paraquat
Paraquat is important to agricultural development, due to its broad herbicidal spectrum and fast acting effect, making it an important tool for making glyphosate-resistant herbicides. Whether in hot and dry conditions or in a humid environment, paraquat acts quickly, reducing competition from weeds for nutrition and favoring crops, therefore, increasing crop yields. Applications of paraquat during the ripening stages of cotton, potato and soybean crops can quickly reduce grain and plant moisture, which improves the efficiency of mechanical harvesting and reduces the wear rate of mechanical equipment. The use of paraquat can effectively reduce tillage, and mixing it with no-till crops reduces fuel consumption by more than 30 liters/hectare, which helps reduce carbon emissions and saves costs for farmers. In terms of safeguarding global food security, paraquat, as an important means of agricultural production, plays a key role in ensuring production and the harvesting of crops.
Comments from industry players
“China's paraquat export-only cases are subject to PIC, but do not comply with Annex III of the convention. As paraquat is banned in China, the product is strictly governed by the convention. The first batch of export products to be shipped to the convention’s member countries each year must serve an export notice to the importing country, followed by the notification that will be processed based on the reply of the importing country. If the importing country sends a reply disagreeing to the importation, exports will not be possible.”
“All China’s prohibited and few restricted pesticides are all strictly governed for exportation. That is, the first batch of the strictly controlled pesticides due to be exported to countries that are members of the convention be notify the importing country, followed by the serving of an export notice according to the reply of the importing country.”
“This is positive news for paraquat. If it is included in Appendix III, the prohibition of paraquat would speed up worldwide, and some countries may consider a waiver of prohibition.”