Rotterdam Convention

About the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, 1998 (the Rotterdam Convention).  

Purpose of the Rotterdam Convention

The convention is a multilateral environmental agreement to protect human health and the environment from potentially harmful impacts from the trade in certain hazardous chemicals. New Zealand ratified this Convention on 23 September 2003.

Chemicals covered by the Rotterdam Convention

The chemicals covered by the Rotterdam Convention include pesticides, severely hazardous pesticides formulation, and industrial chemicals. For the full list see Annex III Chemicals [Rotterdam Convention website].

Prior informed consent procedure for importation of chemicals

The Rotterdam Convention establishes a prior informed consent procedure. This enables countries to make informed decisions to consent to import the chemicals they are prepared to receive, and not to consent to import those they decide they cannot manage safely.

This means that New Zealand needs to ensure that the export of Rotterdam Convention chemicals receive permission in advance from a receiving country that is party to the Convention, and must give permission for any proposed import into New Zealand.  

New Zealand’s import decisions for hazardous substances, including Rotterdam Convention chemicals, are made under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 [New Zealand Legislation website].

New Zealand’s export decisions for Rotterdam Convention chemicals are made through the Imports and Exports (Restrictions) Prohibition Order (No 2) 2004 [New Zealand Legislation website].

Importers and exporters are responsible for being informed on the status of chemicals listed under the Rotterdam Convention and New Zealand’s import and export requirements.

Advice for importers and exporters

You can get advice on the import and export of Rotterdam Convention chemicals by contacting the EPA:

Find out more