In a letter sent to the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on July 3, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) objected to a set of OECD amendments requiring consent from importing countries before trading plastic wastes. An article informing about the situation and including a copy of the letter was published by the non-governmental organization Basel Action Network (BAN) on July 14, 2019. In May 2019, the Basel Convention agreed to place stricter controls on the transport of plastic waste across international borders through implementation of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure (FPF reported). While the U.S. is not a member of the Basel Convention, it is an OECD member and would be responsible for adhering to the new, closely related agreements regulating plastic waste trade between OECD member states. The EPA letter writes that “specifically, the United States wishes to express its objection to incorporating the three plastic waste amendments to Annexes II, VIII and IX of the Basel Convention” and that it believes “OECD member countries have attained high environmental standards and have the capacity to manage waste in an environmentally sound manner.”

Jim Puckett, executive director of BAN, commented that “rather than requiring waste traders to first clean and separate plastic wastes or else get the importing country’s permission to receive it, the US seeks a free-trade pathway to allow its waste brokers to dump dirty, unrecyclable wastes on other OECD countries such as Mexico, Canada, Turkey and South Korea with impunity.” The filed objection is set to now begin a debate among OECD member states in order to reach consensus on the issue. BAN writes that “without consensus, the US can block the rest of the OECD from incorporating the new global listings.”

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Basel Action Network (July 14, 2019). “US Objects to New Global Rules to Better Control Exports of Contaminated and Mixed Plastic Waste.”

Ginger Hervey (July 16, 2019). “US objects to OECD adoption of Basel plastics decision.Chemical Watch

Rina Li (July 19, 2019). “Scrap Collector: US stands as lone OECD opponent of Basel plastic amendment.WasteDive