Arms ControlExperience of U.S. Industry With Chemical Weapons Convention Inspections Gao ID: T-NSIAD-00-249 September 13, 2000
In considering the impact of proposed compliance regimes for the Biological Weapons Convention on U.S. industries such as the pharmaceutical, chemical, agricultural, and brewing industries, GAO was asked to testify on how industries with similar concerns were affected by compliance regimes of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Specific concerns were protection of proprietary information during inspections, adverse publicity resulting from inspections, and costs to companies being inspected. GAO testified that for the first seven companies inspected under the Chemical Weapons Convention, companies were generally able to protect proprietary information because of provisions in the Convention and U.S. law. No instances were identified in which a company was affected by adverse publicity, even though companies differed in the amount of information they released. Companies reported inspection costs ranging from $6,000 to $107,000. GAO cautioned about drawing conclusions on the basis of limited company experiences under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Although Biological Weapons Convention protocols being negotiated are similar, levels of detail for reporting and intrusiveness of inspections have yet to be finalized.
GAO noted that: (1) the experience of the first seven U.S. companies that have been inspected under the Chemical Weapons Convention showed that companies were generally able to protect proprietary information, in part because of certain provisions in the Convention and U.S. law; (2) GAO did not identify any instances in which a company was affected by adverse publicity resulting from inspections, even though companies varied in how much information was provided to the public concerning inspections; (3) these companies reported inspection-related costs to GAO ranging from $6,000 to $107,000; and (4) the large variation is partly attributable to inconsistencies in components of costs included in the total cost as well as differences in the facilities being inspected.