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SAFEGUARDS | Food NO. 029/17

The WTO has recently circulated a notification announcing two draft regulations from the Seychelles prohibiting plastic utensils, polystyrene boxes and certain plastic bags as well as requiring biodegradable forms of these products to conform to prescribed standards. The proposed date of entry into force is August 2017.

On February 7, 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) circulated a communication from the Seychelles announcing two pieces of proposed legislation under the Environment Protection Act, 2016. These proposals, attached to WTO document 17-0713 [1], are:

  • Environment Protection (Restriction on manufacturing, importation and distribution of Plastic Bags) Regulations 2017 [2] relating to plastic bags and biodegradable bags
  • Environment Protection (Restriction on importation, distribution and sale of Plastic Utensils and Polystyrene Boxes) Regulations 2017 [3] relating to plastic utensils, polystyrene (PS) boxes and biodegradable forms of these products

These two proposals require the scope of biodegradable products to conform to prescribed international standards and direct the Bureau of Standards to validate certificates of conformity (CoCs) accompanying these products. The standards for these biodegradable products are:

  • AS 4736-2006 ‘Biodegradable plastics – biodegradable plastics suitable for composting and other microbial treatment’
  • ASTM D6400 ‘Standard specification for labeling of plastics designed to be aerobically composted in municipal or industrial facilities’
  • EN 13432 ‘Packaging. Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging’
  • ISO 14855 ‘Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability and disintegration of plastic materials under controlled composting conditions - Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide’

The affected products are under HS Codes 392321, 392329, 392410 and 392310.

The proposed date of entry into force for both proposals is August 2017.

Highlights of the WTO circulation are summarized in Table 1.

WTO Document 17-0713, Notification G/TBT/N/SYC/3
February 7, 2017
Scope Standard Requirement Date of entry into force
Plastic bags, utensils and PS boxes ---- Prohibited August 2017
Biodegradable bags, utensils and PS boxes
  • AS 4736-2006
  • ASTM D6400
  • EN 13432
  • ISO 14855
Conform

Remark

  • Exemptions for plastic bags are under ‘First Schedule’ of the ‘Plastic Bags Regulations’
  • Bureau of Standards to validate CoCs of biodegradable products

Throughout our global network of laboratories, we are able to provide a range of services, including analytical and consultancy for the biodegradable and compostable products for international markets. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

For enquiries, please contact:

Hingwo Tsang
Global Hardlines Information and Innovation Manager
t: +852 2774 7420

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