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As Trade Agreements Falter, ACC Calls For Harmonized Regulations

A prominent chemical industry group called for an increased emphasis on uniform regulations instead of multi-national trade agreements.

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A prominent chemical industry group called for an increased emphasis on uniform regulations instead of multi-national trade agreements.

Greg Skelton, the American Chemistry Council's senior director for regulatory and technical affairs, told Bloomberg that regulatory cooperation could resolve key trade barriers facing chemical manufacturers — without wading into complicated international negotiations that face increasing political opposition.

Skelton said that sweeping trade agreements often include such language — but that deals like the ill-fated Trans-Pacific Partnership appear unlikely under the Trump administration.

"You don't need trade agreements to get cooperation agreements,” Skelton said.

Skelton called varying labeling requirements or other "non-tariff" trade barriers "the biggest trade issues faced by our members."

Those different requirements add to the costs of doing business; harmonizing regulations would not only reduce those costs, Skelton said, but would increase the sales potential in each nation.

Bloomberg pointed to current cooperative efforts between regulators in the U.S. and Canada which yielded "primers" for chemical manufacturers and suppliers operating in those nations.

An EPA official also told a conference last month that regulators will unveil a strategy for the U.S. and Canada to cooperate on chemical risk assessments later this year.

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