How the CWC affects industry


A Guide for Australian Industry Producing, Using or Trading Chemicals [PDF 2.20 MB]

A number of chemicals produced or used for normal industrial, medical or research activities can also have applications in the manufacture of chemical weapons. Moreover, the types of chemical processes involved in the production of chemical warfare agents are also very commonly used in the legitimate production of commercial chemicals.

To provide assurance of compliance with the treaty, Australia must declare the following information to the OPCW (summarised in Table 1):

TABLE 1: Summary of Declarable Activities
Schedule Declarable Activities Example Industries

Schedule 1

  • Small-scale production
  • Small-scale consumption
  • Acquisition, retention, use and/or domestic transfers
  • Import
  • Export
  • Medical and diagnostic uses
  • Defence research purposes (testing protective clothing)

Schedule 2

  • Industrial-scale production
  • Industrial-scale consumption
  • Industrial-scale processing
  • Import
  • Export
  • Textiles (flame retardants)
  • Agriculture (pesticides)
  • Photographic (dyes)
  • Pharmaceuticals (anticholinergics, tranquilisers)

Schedule 3

  • Industrial-scale production
  • Import
  • Export
  • Cosmetics (surfactants, buffers, scents)
  • Pharmaceuticals (surfactants, active ingredients)
  • Agriculture (soil fumigants)

Other chemical production of Discrete Organic Chemicals (DOCs), including those containing phosphorus, sulfur and fluorine (PSF-DOCs)

  • Industrial-scale production
  • Agricultural goods (pesticides, fertilisers, soil fumigants)
  • Cosmetics (surfactants, buffers)

Chemical Warfare Agents

A summary of the CWC-Scheduled chemicals and their relevance to chemical warfare may be downloaded here (Table 2): [PDF 19.5 KB] | [DOC 45 KB]. The OPCW has also produced a comprehensive Handbook of Chemicals which is available for all to use.

The Scheduled Chemicals Database is a tool developed by the Technical Secretariat to facilitate the identification of scheduled chemicals by National Authorities, customs authorities, and the chemical industry for the purposes of implementing the declaration and transfer provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. This database has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union.

The Scheduled Chemicals Database contains information on over 1,400 scheduled chemicals declared to the OPCW that are contained in the Handbook on Chemicals 2009, as well as all scheduled chemicals that had been assigned Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Numbers as at 13 January 2009, amounting to an additional 28,000 chemicals. Although the database contains more than 29,000 scheduled chemicals, it does not contain all possible scheduled chemicals. Owing to the nature of the families of chemicals covered under the schedules, it is not possible to provide a comprehensive database of all scheduled chemicals.

The Scheduled Chemicals Database provides information on chemical identifiers such as CAS Registry Numbers, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and CAS chemical names, synonyms, and World Customs Organization (WCO) Harmonized System (HS) codes. Please note, however, that Australia has extended these six-digit WCO HS codes.  The Australian tariff and/or AHECC codes can be obtained from the ASNO publications posted on this website, namely: A Guide for Australian Industry Producing, Using or Trading Chemicals [PDF 2.20 MB] and Information for Importers of Chemicals [PDF 4.11 MB].

The database is accessible via the Internet, through the OPCW website. Owing to licensing issues, the Secretariat will not be able to provide copies of the database, and access will be provided to registered users only. Registration is free and open to all. New users are required to provide a valid e-mail address in order to receive confirmation of registration. In accordance with the privacy statement on the OPCW website, information requested during the registration process will be used only for statistical purposes in order to improve the database in the future, and will not be published for general access.

Civil Uses of CWC-Relevant Chemicals

Examples of commercial activities that are affected by the CWC may be downloaded here. This table is not exhaustive and is updated regularly (Table 3): [PDF 11.2 KB] | [DOC 49 KB]