Frequent Questions

What is the position of the US government with regard to the Basel Convention?

The U.S. signed the Basel Convention in 1990 and the Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification in 1992, but before the President can ratify the treaty, implementing legislation is required. There have been two primary issues that have delayed the U.S. ratification. The first is the scope of the Convention, i.e., the identification of covered hazardous wastes, which was unclear until the adoption of the lists of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes in 1998 and subsequent efforts to adopt criteria for hazardous waste characteristics. Second, the adoption of an amendment to the Convention (the so-called "ban" amendment) in 1995 -- which has not yet been ratified by an adequate number of countries and is therefore not yet in effect -- has created issues for U.S. ratification of the Convention. The "ban" amendment would prohibit all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes for recycling or disposal from developed countries (generally, OECD countries) to developing countries and countries with economies in transition (generally, all non-OECD countries). 

The Administration has resolved all major issues and is finalizing clearance of draft implementing legislation that would allow the U.S. to ratify the Basel Convention.

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