On November 6, 2023, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries notified a draft standard (GSO 2654:2023) for the implementation of the seventh revised edition of the Globally Harmonized Standard of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS7) to the World Trade Organization. The notifying countries were the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Yemen i.e. the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The objective of GSO 2654:2023
The draft standard has been published by the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO). The GSO technical regulation (GSO 2654:2023) aims to ensure the safe production, transport, handling, use, and disposal of hazardous substances in line with GHS requirements, including classification of substances and hazard communication elements like safety data sheets and labels.
Content of the standard document
In accordance with the GHS regulations, the proposed Gulf technical rule aims to ensure the safe production, transportation, handling, use, and disposal of hazardous substances:
1) The standard for categorizing compounds and Mixtures according to their physical, chemical, and health risks; and
2) The components of hazard communication, such as the specifications for safety data sheets and labels.
Deadline and Implementation
The comments are accepted by WTO for the notification in the next 60 days (i.e. until January 5, 2024). The date of adoption is yet to be determined. The Standard will come into force 180 days after publication in the official gazette.
In December 2022, a memorandum was signed between Saudi Arabia and Japan at the first ministerial meeting of the Saudi Japanese Ministerial Dialogue for Energy. . The memorandum was about cooperation in the energy sector, including carbon recycling technology and the use of hydrogen and ammonia as a clean fuel source, to achieve a carbon neutral society.
According to the two memoranda of cooperation, the two nations will advance the use of hydrogen in transportation and encourage the study and advancement of fuel ammonia and hydrogen technologies as well as their application at the local, bilateral, regional, and global levels. The two nations will also look into the possibility of conducting a joint study or pilot project that quickens the adoption of low-carbon fuels like e-fuel, gaseous fuels, methane, fuels made from CO2, and methanol as well as technologies like direct air capture, carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), or carbon recycling.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted energy supplies around the world, the two ministers also reaffirmed the importance of securing stable provisions by advancing dialogue between oil producers and importers.
Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura visited Saudi Arabia and Oman for discussions on the supply and stabilization of oil and liquefied natural gas and seeking cooperation in such new areas of hydrogen and ammonia.
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