Analysis: Europe, chemicals, and the Bush administration

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

How much pressure did the US government exert in order to promote US industry interests on the EU’s draft REACH regulation?  The answer: “A lot, but careful”, say researchers of the Kennedy-Institute of Freie Universität Berlin.  The case study “Trading softly: Europe, chemicals, and the Bush administration” (by Francis R. Pickerung, Jason Dorn, Alant Jost, Mehmet Yilmazata and Felix Mann), was finalised in January 2006 at the seminar “America’s Lobbyists” at the Kennedy-Institute, under the supervision of Dr. Marco Althaus, Deutsches Institut für Public Affairs (DIPA).

The case study is based on interviews with NGO and industry sources and offers a detailed insight behind the curtain of transatlantic lobbying.  

Those interviewed, from both NGOs (environmental, public health, and consumer organisations) and industry groups strongly believe that the Bush administration intervened on behalf of the latter over an extended time and with great deployment of resources.  Both asserted that this intervention proved to be a decisive factor in the “watering down” of REACH during the legislative process.  

By contrast, all of the governmental representatives – both European and American – deny these allegations. 

Representatives of the US government refused to elaborate on the specifics of how U.S. policy was implemented in Europe.  Nevertheless, their responses to the queries were remarkably tightly-knit. 

The full text of the study is available on the website of the German Institute of public affairs (DIPA). 

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