Washington DC – Obscured by its passionate appeals for safety and global stewardship, the EU’s persistent attempts to apply the Precautionary Principle hurt developing countries’ prospects for economic growth, poverty alleviation, social advancement and even environmental protection, according to the most recent of the National Foreign Trade Council’s white papers on precaution and trade, which presents three compelling cases that illustrate this situation.
The paper, ‘Enlightened’ Environmentalism or Disguised Protectionism? Assessing the Impact of EU Precaution-Based Standards on Developing Countries, offers powerful evidence of the danger and inequity of indiscriminately applying developed nation safety and environmental protection standards to the developing world.
“The three cases outlined in this paper show the conflict that arises between the EU’s precaution-based agenda and the Doha Ministerial Declaration,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “
This most recent NFTC white paper contains three essays with regional implications:
Two earlier papers in the NFTC series present numerous examples of the EU’s use of precaution to block trade in a wide variety of products ranging from beef to computers. They also clearly show how the EU has sought to inject the precautionary principle into the WTO system, international standards setting bodies, and bilateral and regional free trade and aid agreements.
Reinsch urged representatives of the developing nations to pay particular attention to this third report. “Many developing countries lack the resources necessary to monitor and comply with the waves of overly stringent health, safety, and environmental regulations and standards being developed. It’s tempting for them to agree to such rules when the perceived reward is trade and aid agreements or capacity building initiatives. But, caution not precaution is what is needed. The development of strong rules to protect health and environment is an important goal for both developed and developing nations, but both are best served – and those goals are best met — by regulatory schemes that also promote economic development, not restrict trade and the growth and jobs it promotes.”
For a copy of the full NFTC paper, please see the NFTC’s website at http://www.nftc.org/default/white%20paper/riskreg3study404_2_Final.pdf. For a copy of the executive summary go to http://www.nftc.org/default/white%20paper/riskreg3execsum2Final404.pdf