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Public Papers - 1990

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement and Disposal of Hazardous Wastes


President Bush today announced that the United States will sign the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. The convention prohibits exports of controlled wastes except for recycling or recovery, or except where such exports are environmentally sound and economically efficient. Safeguards required by the convention include notification to and written consent from importing countries prior to the export of controlled wastes. The convention also obligates signatories to ban the export of controlled wastes if there is reason to believe such wastes will not be managed in an environmentally sound manner in the importing country. The administration expects to implement the convention in tandem with the President's decision of March 9, 1989, to ban exports of hazardous wastes except where the United States is a party to a formal agreement with the importing country. Existing bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico will continue to govern movements of hazardous wastes between the United States and those countries.

The United States played a leadership role in developing the convention. Forty-six countries have joined the United States in signing the convention. Following signature, the convention will be submitted to the Senate for consent to ratification. It will enter into force upon ratification by 20 governments.

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