25 January 2005 23:29 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--A US-based international trade group warned Tuesday that European Union (EU) persistence toward its “Reach” chemicals testing program threatens US-EU economic ties and may erode trade worldwide.
The US Council for International Business (USCIB) said today that the EU’s developing program for the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (Reach) conflicts “dramatically with [chemical regulatory] approaches under the ?xml:namespace>
Reach, said USCIB in a letter to US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Zoellick, “would place costly burdens on US industry, both chemical producers and downstream chemical users, affect US and EU trade, and set a trend for policy promotion based on an overly conservative interpretation” of the precautionary principle.
In addition to the conflict that Reach poses for US-EU trade, said USCIB, “there is the potential that the proposed [Reach] regulation will be exported and used by other countries as a template for their own chemical regulations.”
Reach is under review by the European Commission’s (EC) Competitiveness Council and could come into force in
In its letter to Zoellick, released today, UCIB cautioned that in addition to burdening chemicals manufacturers, Reach also would have broad negative impact on downstream industries that use chemicals.
The Reach proposal, USCIB added, “also is likely to discourage innovation, since every distinctive new use for a chemical will require an additional [Reach regulatory] application.”
New York City-based USCIB - which has accused EU regulators of “over-Reaching” in their effort to test chemicals - also said that EU pursuit of the program “raises the greater question of whether the EU will work cooperatively with the US and other countries to achieve mutually acceptable regulations for environmental and health protection and other objectives - or go ahead unilaterally to legislate and seek to impose those regulations on the rest of the world.”
USCIB’s multinational member companies have combined sales of $3trn (Euro2.3trn) and are focused on international trade.
Robert Zoellick has been nominated by President George W Bush to serve as deputy secretary of state at the US State Department, the number two job there.
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