Free Trade Agreements and Patterns of Risk Regulation in the EU and the US

13-09-2016

Transatlantic regulatory patterns overall and in four key sectors: food, automobiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals indicate that the EU risk regulation is not always or generally more stringent or precautionary than the US regulation. In fact, the reality is a complex mix of parity and particularity. While there is overall EU-US similarity, there is also variation. In some risk matters, and across and within sectors, there is more precaution in Europe, whereas in others it may be in the US. Even if they are unusual deviations, and even if they go in both directions, transatlantic regulatory differences can still pose barriers to trade that may in some cases warrant harmonization. However, regulatory variation can also be the basis for learning to improve future regulatory design, both by comparing outcomes across regulations in different jurisdictions, and by planning adaptive regulation over time. International regulatory cooperation does not simply mean adopting the current standard of one side or the other. It can also involve collaboration to reviewing existing regulations and designing new approaches that improve outcomes for all.

Transatlantic regulatory patterns overall and in four key sectors: food, automobiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals indicate that the EU risk regulation is not always or generally more stringent or precautionary than the US regulation. In fact, the reality is a complex mix of parity and particularity. While there is overall EU-US similarity, there is also variation. In some risk matters, and across and within sectors, there is more precaution in Europe, whereas in others it may be in the US. Even if they are unusual deviations, and even if they go in both directions, transatlantic regulatory differences can still pose barriers to trade that may in some cases warrant harmonization. However, regulatory variation can also be the basis for learning to improve future regulatory design, both by comparing outcomes across regulations in different jurisdictions, and by planning adaptive regulation over time. International regulatory cooperation does not simply mean adopting the current standard of one side or the other. It can also involve collaboration to reviewing existing regulations and designing new approaches that improve outcomes for all.