Member countries of the WTO added their voice to the criticisms of the European Commission’s proposed criteria (click HERE) for identifying agrochemicals and biocides that are potential endocrine disruptors (EDs). Over 20 WTO members noted concerns at the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures meeting in late October that the strict proposals would hamper agricultural trade.
The Commission has based its criteria on the UN WHO definition of EDs. Its proposals have already been slammed by a wide range of groups for being either too strict or too lax, with the latest attack coming from EU Environment Ministers. At the WTO meeting, much of the criticism was targeted at the planned use of the ED criteria as hazard-based cut-off points, which would halt registrations of the affected active substances. The US delegation claimed that the move would have “far-reaching and detrimental consequences to food and agricultural production worldwide” and urged the EU to adopt a risk-based approach. Argentina and China said that it could lead to bans on imports that do not pose any risk to health or the environment. Some developing countries also expressed concerns over the impact on their exports.
In response to the comments, the EU delegation noted that the criteria were only a proposal and that it “remained unclear when [they] would be adopted”.
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