The Ministry of Environment ("MOE") is currently carrying out the data disclosure procedures relating to the results from the 2015 Statistical Survey of chemical substances.  

On July 30, 2016, the MOE publicly disclosed the first set of data on its website. This first set involved data submitted by companies, which did not file a data protection application earlier this year.  

By comparison, for those companies that filed a data protection application, the MOE is now reviewing the applications. We understand that for this set of applicants, following its review, the MOE will make the same type of public disclosure sometime after the review of the applications.  

Details on MOE's Disclosure:  

  • The above disclosure constitutes an independent disclosure by the MOE (i.e., disclosure is not initiated by a third party's specific request for information), and does not involve all chemical information submitted in the Statistical Survey report. 
  • The data subject to disclosure include only select types of data applicable to hazardous substances (e.g., chemical name, annual volume handled, name of products containing the chemical) that constitute a "hazardous substance" as defined under the Chemicals Control Act, or a "hazardous factor" under the Industrial Safety & Health Act. 
  • To be part of this public disclosure, for all other data, such as a product's chemical composition and content, the MOE requires a third party's specific request for information, and the MOE's review of such request. 

Potentials for Appeal: At the conclusion of the MOE's review, should the MOE decide to disclose data for which data protection was claimed, the disclosure (decision) can be appealed in two ways: (i) to the same review committee; or (ii) through an administrative litigation proceeding.  

Recommendation: Accordingly, companies that have claimed data protection are advised to monitor the MOE's review process, and to consider the need for any follow-up measures, such as filing for appeal, or, in the event of an unfavorable decision by the MOE, an administrative litigation proceeding. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.