Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations: UDOC “Change in Inspection Status Form;” Amendments to Records Review and Recordkeeping Requirements; Additions to the List of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is publishing this final rule to amend the Chemical Weapons Convention Regulations (CWCR) to expedite the collection of information concerning the inspection status of plant sites that produce unscheduled discrete organic chemicals (UDOCs) subject to the declaration requirements of the CWCR, to clarify the scope of the CWCR records review and recordkeeping requirements, and to update the maximum civil penalty that may be imposed for violations of the CWCR restrictions on imports of Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 chemicals. The CWCR include requirements to declare certain activities, involving scheduled chemicals and UDOCs, and to provide access for on-site verification by international inspectors of certain declared facilities in the United States. Specifically, this final rule amends the CWCR by revising the annual declaration requirements for UDOCs to allow a ``declared'' plant site currently subject to inspection, which anticipates that its production of UDOCs during the current calendar year will be below the inspection threshold level indicated in the CWCR, to submit a Change in Inspection Status Form to BIS by December 15th of the current calendar year. In addition, any such UDOC plant site containing at least one plant that anticipates producing an individual PSF chemical (i.e., a UDOC containing the elements phosphorus, sulfur or fluorine) in quantities that exceed the declaration threshold for such chemicals will have the option of submitting its Annual Declaration on Past Activities, in lieu of a Change in Inspection Status Form, by December 15th of the current calendar year. Otherwise, the CWCR require that the Annual Declaration on Past Activities be submitted by February 28th of the following year. The information provided to BIS, as a result of this change, will ensure that the plant site is not subject to inspection during the first 90 days of the next calendar year (i.e., the year after the UDOC activities took place), which is the period when the United States compiles its annual declaration on past activities for submission to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). In addition, this information will strengthen the verification regime of the CWC by allowing the OPCW to schedule inspections, on a year-round basis, of those UDOC facilities in the United States that meet or exceed the inspection threshold level indicated in the CWCR. This rule also amends the CWCR by revising the records review provisions to clarify that a facility must provide the OPCW Inspection Team with access to all supporting materials and documentation used by the facility to prepare declarations and to otherwise comply with the CWCR, including records related to activities that have taken place at the facility since the beginning of the previous calendar year (i.e., up to and including the date of the inspection), even if the facility has not submitted its current year Annual Declaration on Past Activities to BIS at the time the inspection takes place. In addition, this rule revises the CWCR records review and recordkeeping requirements to clarify that the types of records that are subject to these requirements include all supporting materials and documentation associated with the movement into, around, and from the facility of declared chemicals and their feedstock or any product chemicals formed from such chemicals and feedstock. The purpose of this clarification is to ensure that the CWCR records review and recordkeeping requirements fully conform with the inspection aims described in the inspection provisions of the CWCR, which include verifying the absence of Schedule 1 chemicals and the non-diversion of Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 chemicals. This rule amends the enforcement provisions of the CWCR to increase the maximum civil penalty that may be imposed for violations of the CWCR restrictions on imports of CWC Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 chemicals from $11,000 to $50,000 to reflect amendments to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) made by the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, which was enacted on March 9, 2006. Finally, this rule updates the list of countries that currently are States Parties to the CWC by adding the Central African Republic and Comoros, which recently became States Parties, and by replacing the listing for Serbia and Montenegro with a separate listing for each country.