New NAFTA Agreement Promotes Risk-Based Approach for Chemical Regulations and Cosmetics

The United States, Canada, and Mexico reached an agreement this month on an updated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The revised trade pact includes an annex for chemical substances intended to promote the formation of chemical regulations which both benefit human health and the environment without causing unnecessary financial obstacles or hindering technological advancements. The agreement also encourages the cooperation between the USMCA countries in the following ways:

  • Coordination and harmonization of the countries’ chemical risk assessments including methodologies, tools, and measures as far as their legal frameworks will allow;

  • utilizing the United Nations Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemical (GHS);

  • developing a standard for the creation of safety data sheets and how confidential business information (CBI) is written on them;

  • scientific criteria and data sharing;

  • maintaining and ensuring compatibility of chemical inventories.

USMCA also requires countries to apply a risk-based approach to regulating cosmetic product safety, the harmonization of cosmetics regulation, and for international standards to be used as a basis for regulatory guidelines.