How to import or export controlled chemicals
The export and import of certain chemicals is controlled due to their possible use as chemical weapons or for making chemical weapons. Some other chemicals are controlled because they have or could have other military uses.
The Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1996 and the Customs and Excise Act 1996 prohibit the export and import of chemicals which could be used as chemical weapons or chemical weapons precursors, unless a permit has been obtained from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As part of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) monitoring process, New Zealand is obliged to report transfers (both imports and exports) of CWC scheduled goods to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
CWC Schedule 1 chemicals
These are the most tightly controlled chemicals. The schedule primarily consists of chemical warfare agents and their precursor chemicals, none of which are produced in New Zealand. The import of these chemicals is restricted to research, medical, pharmaceutical or chemical incident identification (i.e. response) purposes.
CWC Schedule 2A toxic chemicals and 2B precursor chemicals
These are dual-use chemicals, used and traded for routine commercial purposes in New Zealand. All Schedule 2A chemicals are controlled. A Schedule 2B chemical is controlled if:
- it constitutes more than 10% (by weight) of a mixture or
- if the mix contains more than one Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 chemical.
CWC Schedule 3A toxic chemicals and 3B precursor chemicals
These are dual-use chemicals, more commonly used and traded for routine commercial purposes in New Zealand. A Schedule 3A or 3B chemical is controlled if:
it constitutes more than 10% (by weight) of a mixture or
if the mix contains more than one Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 chemical.
Are there any other chemicals that may be controlled?
Yes. Other than CWC scheduled chemicals there are controls on:
- additional chemicals listed by the Australia Group due to the possibility of their use as precursors for chemical weapons [PDF, 115 KB]
- chemicals related to conventional weapons, nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles
- chemicals not listed in the New Zealand Strategic Goods Lists which may potentially be controlled under catch-all provisions
What can't I do?
The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) prohibits the transfer of Schedule 1 and 2 chemicals to countries/territories which are not party to the CWC.
What is a CAS number ?
“CAS” - represents the identification number given to chemicals in relation to a chemical compound. It is the registry number assigned to that compound by the Chemical Abstracts Service, Columbus, Ohio, in the US, and is published by that service in the journal “Chemical Abstracts”.
Each shipment importing chemicals requires a separate permit, although more than one type of chemical can be imported at the same time if it is a part of the same shipment consignment. There are no General, Mulitple or Temporary permits. End-user certificates are not required.
Use the Importation of Chemicals form [XLSX, 29 KB]
There are Single and Multiple permits for the export of chemicals. There are no General, Mulitple or Temporary permits. Under a Single permit more than one type of chemical can be exported at the same time if it is a part of the same shipment consignment.
Multiple export permits are issued when chemicals are to be exported in several shipments over an extended period of up to 18 months. They are for a specified quantity of chemicals to a single, specific end-user. Exporters must provide information to MFAT on the amounts of goods exported under the Multiple permit, according to a set six-monthly reporting timetable.
Exported chemicals will require an end-user certificate, although MFAT may be willing to waive this requirement where the chemicals are being exported to a distributor, or to a branch of the same company.
Use the Export of Chemicals form [XLS, 55 KB]
Where do I send the application?
Send the completed and signed application form to the Export Controls Office of MFAT.
MFAT is conscious that exporters and importers require quick and clear decisions. You can help us to provide a fast response to your application by ensuring that all the required information is supplied and that it is accurate.
We aim to process routine applications for permits within 10 working days. Non-routine applications (applications where the destination country is potentially problematic) may take up to six weeks or longer. Early contact with MFAT is advised.
Applications to import CWC schedule 1 chemicals must be received by MFAT at least 37 days prior to the anticipated shipment date. This advance notification is required because the transfer must be notified to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which implements the CWC internationally, at least 30 days in advance.
There is no charge for a permit.
Amendment and renewal of permits
You can request to amend a current permit emailing the request to email@example.com and attaching a copy of the original to be amended. Where a permit has expired it must be renewed by submitting a new application.
Specific CWC requirements prohibit the retransfer of Schedule 1 chemicals. In practice, this means that Schedule 1 chemicals imported into New Zealand may not be retransferred to a third country.