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E-M:/ Wall Street Journal: U.S. Opposes EU Effort to Test Chemicals forHealth Hazards

Title: Wall Street Journal: U.S. Opposes EU Effort to Test Ch
Important article in the Wall Street Journal article about the way the US chemical industry, notably DOW, is controlling the US Government's position on important European chemical policy initiatives that could have implications here in the US. The article is based on internal memos outlining the US Government/chemical industry strategy.  Below also see the press release by NGO's on the issue.

To learn more about the European initiatives and their US implications, the Ecology Center, MEC, Sen. Brater and Rep Kolb are hosting a policy briefing in Lansing on  Friday, September 19, 2003, from 12:00 (Noon) to 1:30 p.m. Room 810, Farnum Building, 125 W. Allegan St., Lansing, MI: Emerging European Chemicals Policies: Implications and Opportunities for Michigan

WSJ - online

U.S. Opposes EU Effort to Test
Chemicals for Health Hazards

By Thaddeus Herrick in Houston, Matthew Newman in Brussels and Michael Schroeder in Washington

Amid festering trade and diplomatic tensions, the Bush administration is siding with the U.S. chemical industry to wage an unusually aggressive campaign against European proposals that would require testing tens of thousands of chemicals for potential health and environmental hazards at a cost of billions of dollars.

The controversy comes as the European Union increasingly has asserted its regulatory powers in the global marketplace, in matters ranging from genetically modified crops to consumers' Internet privacy. The growing role of the EU, a 15-nation trading bloc and the world's second-largest economy, threatens the U.S.'s traditional role as the world's standard setter for manufacturing and safety. U.S. producers are finding that if they want to export to the lucrative European market they must comply with the EU's separate and often stricter regulations.

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Documents gathered by the Boston-based Environmental Health Fund under the Freedom of Information Act show that the Bush administration has been a leader in fighting the EU chemical-testing proposal. Don Wright, a desk officer in the Commerce Department's Office of European Union and Regional Affairs, wrote in a January 2002 background paper that the U.S. government "has advised industry to develop an official position and strategy as soon as possible to assist in influencing EU's draft text." In an internal memo, the department even chided the U.S. chemical industry for not joining the lobbying fight more quickly and aggressively, the documents show.