European Vote on Chemicals Policy to Have Repercussions on U.S. Businesses

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Washington, D.C., November 17, 2005—The European Parliament today voted to implement a massive new chemical regulations policy, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute believes is unnecessary and too costly, with repercussions for businesses around the world.

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The program, known as REACH—for the registration, authorization, and evaluation of chemicals—would require companies to register 30,000-plus chemicals, the vast majority of which are already on the market. Some chemicals would also have to undergo an evaluation process before they could be sold in any member country of the European Union.


A compromise on the proposed policy was reached before today’s vote, to exempt some chemicals from the full range of tests and reduce the paperwork requirements. But CEI’s director of risk and environmental policy says no compromise will solve the fatally flawed problems of REACH.


“The entire approach is wrong-headed,” says Angela Logomasini, who is also the author of a recent Hayek Institute study on the proposed chemicals policy, Europe’s Global REACH: Costly for the World, Suicidal for Europe. “REACH will be an expensive bureaucratic program that will create needless market distortions and hinder free trade. Nor can any reforms to the proposed policy fix the fact that the program promises little or no environmental impacts.”


Member states of the European Union have yet to consider REACH. A vote was scheduled for the end of November, but opposition from Germany has pushed it back.


“European Union members should recognize the fatal flaws of this proposal and keep it from going any further,” says Logomasini.