Although the United States is not currently a party to the Basel Convention, it still concerns U.S. importers and exporters. In the absence of prior agreement between the countries, the contracting parties to the Basel Convention cannot negotiate with non-party parties of the basel-registered waste. The United States is participating in a legally binding agreement with OECD members on cross-border transfers of waste for reclamation purposes. The OECD Council`s decision to control cross-border transfers of waste for reclamation operations is a multilateral agreement that establishes procedural and material controls for the importation and export of hazardous waste for value between OECD member states. The enhancement measures cover activities leading to recycling, recycling, recovery, direct reuse or other uses (see Title 40 of the Federal Regulations Code or CFR in Section 262.81). The agreement aims to facilitate the trade in this waste and to minimise the possibility of this waste being abandoned or treated illegally. In addition to the above import and export conditions, strict requirements apply to advertising, consent and monitoring of waste transfers across national borders. It should be noted that the Convention provides for a blanket ban on the export or importation of waste between parties and non-parties. An exception to this rule is that waste is subject to another contract that is not exempt from the Basel Convention. The United States is a remarkable part of the convention and has a number of such agreements that allow the shipment of hazardous waste to the countries of the contracting part of Basel. The Basel Convention on the Control of Cross-Border Movements of Dangerous Waste and Its Disposal, commonly referred to as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty aimed at reducing the transfer of hazardous waste between countries and, in particular, preventing the transfer of hazardous waste from developed countries to less developed countries (LDCs). However, it does not deal with radioactive waste transfers.
The Convention also aims to minimise the amount and toxicity of waste produced, ensure its ecological management as close as possible to the source of production and help least developed countries to manage the hazardous and other waste they produce in an environmentally friendly manner. Several international agreements can affect the import and export practices of hazardous waste in the United States. These include the Basel Convention, the decision of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and bilateral agreements between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Basel Convention on the Control of Cross-Border Movements of Dangerous Waste and Its Disposal is a multilateral agreement negotiated under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from 1988. The Convention`s negotiators wanted to promote environmentally sound management of exported and imported waste, particularly in developing countries. The Canada-U.S. agreement was concluded in 1986 and amended in 1992. It deals with cross-border transfers of hazardous waste and other waste between the two countries for recycling or disposal.