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WTO could dismantle environmental laws

Governments attending this week's World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Geneva plan to dismantle a number of environmental laws, including those covering the recycling of End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV), according to Friends of the Earth (FOE).

The green group has analysed countries' notifications prior to the talks and have identified 72 challenges to environmental laws that WTO members view as potential barriers to trade.

According to FOE, Korea will challenge the requirement for manufacturers to collect and recycle scrapped cars, enforced in Europe under the European Union's (EU) ELV directive and its producer responsibility requirements.

Argentina was reportedly planning to attack international recycling laws by getting rid of requirements to label recyclable containers and products, which it sees as too costly.

The US, meanwhile, is seeking to lower international standards for environmental goods and will call for less regulation in production.

FOE international trade campaigner Ronnie Hall said: "This is a breath-taking and shameful attack on social and environmental standards world-wide.

"Chemical pollution, climate change, deforestation, depleted fish stocks, waste - none of these seem to matter in the slightest when it comes to the all-important business of accessing new markets and making a quick buck."

Despite the number of challenges made, none of the countries identified by FOE belonged to the EU.

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