Jul 13 2011

Regulatory Harmonization is the windex of international trade

Published by at 3:21 pm under Global Health

Although my project does not have me analyze a current legal issue, there are many legal issues that are centered around the topic of veterinary drugs. The most pressing issues deal with the harmonization of global regulations. If the global regulatory structure was similar to the systems of the 50 states or the member countries of the EU, trade across borders would be considerably easier. Much of the dispute lies in the area of health regulations. Nations with different approaches to keeping their citizens healthy can cause conflicts when one nation is trying to trade with the other. Some nations adopt the precautionary method and some tend to tackle issues as they arise. The EU tends to form its regulations around the precautionary principle of “that is potentially dangerous so we will ban it.” The U.S. tends to be more reactionary in the sense that it will ban products that have evidence of clear and present dangers. An example of this is with the EU’s ban on hormone treated beef. The long term affects of human consumption of hormone treated beef is still not fully understood and as a precautionary step, the EU has outlawed it. The U.S. relies on the absence of scientific data showing a clear problem with hormone treated beef and thus is not banned in the states. Resolving these regulatory issues will certainly facilitate an increase in trade between the U.S. and other nations. This is easier said than done.
As for my experiences, working in D.C. is truly like working in the center of the universe. Having access to the multitude of resources in this city makes me wonder how anyone can get anything done elsewhere. Just last week, James and I had the privilege of attending the 2011 BIO conference, an international conference for the furtherance of biotechnology and related industries. It was spectacular to see representatives from nations throughout the world and from many different sectors of the industry come together in one place for one purpose. I doubt I will have such an opportunity to witness something like that again, although I truly hope I will. D.C. is an awe inspiring place that anyone would be lucky to call home.

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