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Prior Informed Consent and Hazardous Trade by David Langlet

Prior Informed Consent and Hazardous Trade

By David Langlet


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Over the past twenty years or so several global and regional agreements have emerged to address the problems associated with international shipments of hazardous substances. Such agreements are found in three main areas covering three categories of goods: hazardous wastes (Basel convention, Bamako convention, and a number of regional agreements), certain chemicals (Rotterdam Convention), and genetically modified organisms (Cartagena Protocol). .

This ground-breaking study is the first book to take a comprehensive approach to the subject of transboundary shipments of hazardous substances and the instruments employed for regulating such shipments. It fully explains which types of trade regulating instruments are employed by which agreements, and then goes on to evaluate the pros and cons of these instruments with respect to their compatibility with international legal norms, especially WTO law. For the first time in any book, the various international legal regimes (hazardous waste, hazardous chemicals, and biosafety) are compared, based on such criteria as the following:

  • effectiveness of the regulatory instruments;
  • ability to protect the environment and/or human health;
  • ability to accommodate new information; and
  • where they place effective decision-making ability and authority.

At the heart of the thesis is a recognition that the concept of prior informed consent (PIC) – a relatively new instrument for controlling international trade flows – has become a central tenet in hazardous trade regulation. The author demonstrates that PIC seems to offer a promising way to strengthen the ability to protect the environment and human health without unnecessarily impeding the free flow of goods, thus effectively addressing persistent conflicts between trade and environmental protection. Taken in conjunction with other trade-regulating measures, his analysis assesses the PIC concept/procedure from three perspectives: its effect on state sovereignty, its potential for enhancing environmental and health protection in importing states, and its relationship with the free-trade regime, represented primarily by the GATT and the SPS and TBT Agreements of the WTO.

The analysis also includes coverage of the pertinent export laws of the EU and the United States, and of the export and import laws of India pertaining to potentially hazardous substances and products.

Prior Informed Consent and Hazardous Trade vividly clarifies the objectives pursued by the international regulation of trade in hazardous substances – to strengthen regulatory control, to protect human health and the environment, and to prevent unjustified impediments to free trade. In its deeply-informed assessment of the relative weight attributed to each of these objectives, and in its keen analysis of the implications of that weighing on effective decision-making capacity with respect to hazardous trade, this book will be of immeasurable value to lawyers, policymakers and academics working with issues related to transboundary movements of hazardous substances, and especially with conflicts between trade and environmental protection.

Last Updated 02/18/2009
Product Line Kluwer Law International
ISBN 9789041128218
SKU 10059408-0001
Table of Contents

List of Tables. Acknowledgements. Abbreviations. Part I: Issues and Concepts. 1. Introduction. 2. International Law Premises. 3. Sovereignty. 4. Hazardous Trade as Transboundary Harm. Part II: Hazardous-Trade Regimes. 5. The Hazardous-Waste Regime. 6. The Hazardous-Chemicals Regime. 7. The Biosafety Regime . 8. Comparison and Analysis of the Hazardous-Trade Regimes. Part III: The Free-Trade Regime. 9. Free-Trade Law. 10. WTO Law. 11. Conflicts between the Environmental Regime and the Free-Trade Regime. Part IV: Analysis and Reflections. 12. Objectives and Regulatory Instruments. 13. Further Aspects of PIC. 14. General Conclusions. Tables of Materials. Treaties and Laws. Cases. Bibliography. Official Documents. Miscellaneous. Index.