Cites EU action as evidence of alarming trend to use bad science to restrict free trade
“The trans-Atlantic clash over hormone-treated beef is a key element of one of the most contentious trade disputes in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, this most recent decision will escalate the dispute because it indicates a growing reliance on unsound science and the use of standards and regulations as tools of protectionism,” said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council. “Numerous scientific studies, including ones by the EU, show that the banned hormones pose no threat to human health. Nonetheless, the continued blockade of EU markets to American and Canadian beef is being pitched as a public safety issue.”
Responding to a five-year old WTO ruling that the EU lacked the scientific evidence required for the beef ban, an EU committee on veterinary health was convened. The findings of this committee, which underpin the EU’s call yesterday for the lifting of American and Canadian retaliatory tariffs, are likely to face considerable skepticism from American farmers and officials.
Though no conclusive evidence of harm was presented for five of the six growth promotants in question, these hormones are being banned until such evidence can be found.
“This is a perfect example of the misapplication of precaution. In effect, products are being banned on the possibility that some harm may exist, even though no study has reached this conclusion. Under this scenario the ability to impede international trade on just about any good is limitless,” said Reinsch.
Recognizing the increase in trade barriers that ignore sound science, the National Foreign Trade Council has this year released two extensively researched white papers detailing the application of burdensome national standards and technical regulations that hamper free trade. Identifying examples ranging from beef to computers, the
“This beef import ban is a glaring example, but I don’t think there is a real appreciation for the breadth of the application of trade restrictions across a multitude of industries. If you look at only one product or industry at a time, you miss the tremendous damage these barriers represent not only to
For a copy of the
The National Foreign Trade Council is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the