18 November 2021

Nothing is possible without ICP (Internal Compliance Program)

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With the partial revision of the Chemicals Control Ordinance (ChCO), the Federal Council has changed the control and authorization procedures for the handling of chemicals that can be used for both civilian and military applications. In this respect, the competences of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) have been increased. In the same course, amendments were also made to the War Material Ordinance (WMO). According to both the revised ChCO and WMO, proof of a functioning and sustainable ICP is a basic prerequisite to obtain an export authorisation as of November 1, 2021.

On November 1, 2021, the partially revised Chemicals Control Ordinance (ChCO) came into force. To simplify the authorisation regime for the production of certain chemicals that can be used for both military and civilian applications, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is now responsible to approve quantities of up to 100 g per year and business, rather than the Federal Council. In addition, the notification deadlines for chemical plants are now enshrined in the ordinance in order to strengthen legal certainty. Previously, these were set by the Spiez Laboratory.

In order to apply for an authorisation under the ChCO, proof of a functioning internal control system (Internal Compliance Program, "ICP") that ensures compliance with the goods control provisions is now required (new in art. 19a para. 2 ChCO).

The Federal Council has taken the revision of the ChCO and expansion of the SECO's competences as an opportunity to undertake a long overdue amendment of the War Material Ordinance (WMO). While proof of an ICP had already been required for licenses under the goods control provisions since 2016 (art. 5 para. 2 GCO), a corresponding authorisation requirement was previously missing in the war material regulations. This requirement has now been expressly stipulated in art. 12a para. 2 of the WMO. Accordingly, the SECO has also adapted its ICP leaflet and the form for providing proof of and ICP to include references to the WMO.

Legal persons that wish to obtain authorizations under the GCO or WMO must now adapt their ICP as well as their proof of an ICP accordingly and submit a new confirmation to the SECO (cf. Internal Compliance Programme-ICP)