ICC comments on EU ABS Regulation – Draft Guidance on Scope and Core Obligations

This document provides comments from a cross-sectorial perspective on the draft EU Guidance paper on the scope and obligations under the EU ABS Regulation.

ICC appreciates the opportunity to comment on the draft horizontal guidance document. The document will be a key reference document for users of genetic resources within the EU and the participation of users in its development will help ensure its practical relevance, accuracy and value as a tool for users.

Below are some key comments endorsed by a wide range of businesses from different sectors.

Provider country

The notion of “provider country” is key in the due diligence process, and it is essential for the user to understand its exact meaning to be able to fulfil his/her obligations. The guidance document should give sufficient direction to allow the user to determine which is the provider country in any particular situation. There should be only one provider country for each case.


It is crucial for users to be able to determine the relevant date and place of access relevant for (i) ABS obligations and (ii) compliance obligations under the relevant EU regulations.

It would therefore be helpful if the guidance document explicitly stated that the term “access”, for the purposes of the EU Regulation, refers to the act of obtaining the genetic resource from the provider country.

Use of “genetic material” and “genetic resource”

Under the definition in section 1.2, “genetic resources” are defined as “genetic material of actual or potential value” , i.e. a subset of all genetic material. Care should therefore be taken not to use the two terms interchangeably (e.g. page 14, 3rd paragraph) . The draft should be reviewed to ensure consistent use of these two terms throughout the guidance document.

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