§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress with regard to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. 
§ Mr. Meacher
The Rotterdam convention was adopted on 10 September 1998. The convention will not come into force until ratified by 50 parties, 20 parties have ratified so far.
The European Commission adopted a proposal to implement the Rotterdam convention in the EU on 24 January 2002, which is now being discussed by the Environment Council Working Group and the European Parliament. European Community Regulation 2455/92 already implements (compulsorily) a voluntary scheme on trade in certain dangerous chemicals, which the European Commission's recent proposal seeks to amend to implement the convention in the EU. Germany and The Netherlands have implemented national legislation in advance of European Community action. The UK, and the rest of the Community, are also participating in a voluntary interim procedure prior to the convention coming into force.