Environmental Regulations and Corporate Strategy: A NAFTA Perspective

By Alan Rugman; John Kirton et al. | Go to book overview
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One important comparative point is that the institutional capacity of the EU to consider the legality of trade-restricting environmental regulation in a legally binding permanent supranational institution, reveals important differences in the two systems. For example, the European system makes adjudication of such disputes easier in the sense that a large part of the political element is removed and the focus is purely legal, rather than political, as is the case when ad hoc panels are established at the behest of national governments. Accordingly, the Ontario beer case found its solution beyond the legal dispute settlement mechanisms within North America.

In the Matter of. Puerto Rico Regulations on the Import, Distribution and Sale of U.H.T. Milk from Quebec, USA-93-1807-01, 3 June 1993. Ultra-high temperature (hereinafter UHT) milk is produced by heating milk to 138° Celsius for a minimum of two seconds. The milk is then cooled and packaged in hermetically sealed boxes. UHT milk has a shelf life of between six and twelve months at room temperature.
The FTA (and subsequently NAFTA) established a number of committees, subcommittees, and technical working groups to facilitate the implementation of trade commitments.
Interview with Agriculture Canada official, 22 May 1997.
Part of the reason this process was so time-consuming was that the UHT milk from Quebec issue had been tied to the larger issue of trade in fluid milk between Canada and the United States. The resolution arrived at by Canada and the United States included: (1) a declaration of equivalency for UHT milk from Quebec, and (2) an equivalency process for all fluid milk shipped between the United States and Canada. From a trade law perspective, it is highly questionable whether these two issues should have been tied for their resolution. Interview with Agriculture Canada official, 22 May 1997.
Interview with Agriculture Canada official, 19 Apr. 1996.
Bill C-29, The Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act 1996. MMT is an acronym for methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl.
Speech delivered by the Honourable Sergio Marchi, PC, MP, Minister of the Environment, Statement to the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources on Bill C-29: The Manganese-Based Fuel Additives Act, 20 Feb. 1997.
Many of the adverse health effects of MMT are believed to be similar to those of lead, such as symptoms similar to Parkinson's Disease. Although MMT does reduce vehicle emissions of nitrous oxides, it increases the emission of volatile organic compounds, one of the leading precursors to smog. See Statement of Karen Florini, Senior Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund, 10 Apr. 1996.
MMT had been banned in the United States for 17 years by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA ban was recently overturned on a point of administrative law so its use is no longer prohibited. However, 15 of the major US petroleum companies have voluntarily refrained from using MMT pending EPA health testing results. The State of California, a leader in emission control legislation, presently bans the use of MMT in fuel.


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