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On 1 June 2007, throughout the EU, the REACH Regulation on the Regulation, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals produced in or imported into the EU, came into force. The impact of both existing and new chemical substances on the environment and on human health has to be evaluated by the chemical industry and must comply with the now more stringent requirements. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the authorities of the EU Member States share the responsibilities for the implementation of REACH. This EU Regulation also has a direct impact on the chemicals industry in countries outside the EU. The Swiss chemical industry is thus particularly affected inasmuch as the EU is Switzerland's principal trading partner in this domain. In this view, the Federal Council intends to enter into negotiations with the EU with the aim of safeguarding Switzerland's environmental and public health interests under REACH, as well as its economic interests.
Current status: On 18 August 2010, the Federal Council formally approved a draft negotiating mandate, after having conducted the pertinent consultations with the cantons as well as with the Foreign Affairs Committees of the parliamentary chambers. Negotiations have not yet started.
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