French position on illegal international waste shipments
Press release of the Embassy of France on the issue of illegal international waste shipments
KUALA LUMPUR, 31 May 2019 - In view of the recent information made public on this topic, the Embassy of France in Malaysia wishes to share its position and provide clarification on the current French legal framework regarding international shipping of waste.
France’s legal obligations follow the European Union legislation and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. As a result, transboundary shipments of French hazardous and non-hazardous waste are strictly controlled, with a view to protecting human health and the environment.
In practice, export of waste from France to Malaysia for disposal is strictly forbidden, whether the waste material is hazardous or non-hazardous, while export for recovery (i.e. for example through recycling) is allowed only if the waste is not hazardous and if it conforms with Malaysia’s legislation. This means that the French and EU legislation follow entirely the Malaysian legislation regarding exports to this country: if Malaysia prohibits imports of certain types of wastes, then France will systematically also prohibit export of these wastes. And when Malaysia requires import permits, France systematically request these permits to allow exports.
France attaches great importance to the full implementation of these regulations by its operators. Following press reports earlier this week, the French Embassy in Malaysia has immediately contacted the relevant authorities in Malaysia in order to seek information, clarify whether illegal shipments of French origin had been found or not, and propose its cooperation. We are indeed ready to cooperate fully and closely with Malaysia to look into the issue and to work better together on preventing any illegal shipment of waste.