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WTO Raises Concerns On EU Law

November 19, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 47

The European Union's new law regulating chemicals is getting plenty of attention at the World Trade Organization. At a Nov. 9 meeting, WTO's committee on technical barriers to trade focused heavily on the EU's Registration, Evaluation & Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) program, which took effect on June 1. The committee tries to ensure that regulations and other standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. Among the concerns brought up at the meeting, according to WTO, were the complexity and ambiguous terminology of REACH, the numerous bureaucratic steps required to comply with the regulation, and the possibility that the law will not be applied uniformly in all EU countries. Those raising these issues included Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and the U.S., WTO said. Also at the meeting, Canada, China, Japan, and the U.S., among others, voiced concerns about how an EU draft regulation on dangerous substances will affect trade in borates and nickel carbonates or in products, including treated wood, that contain these substances. Meanwhile, Israel, Japan, Jordan, and the U.S. also raised questions about Sweden's ban and Norway's proposed ban on the flame-retardant decabromodiphenyl ether, according to WTO.


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