Brazil Blocks Toxic Trade from Europe
In 2005 the European Communities (EC) challenged Brazil's ban on the import of retreaded tires at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The EC argued that Brazil´s ban was disguised protectionism that violated several GATT articles. Brazil alleged the ban was issued to protect environmental and human health, since used and retreaded tires become waste sooner then new tires and once they are scrapped they are difficult to treat or dispose of safely and often end up in dumpsters or burnt in cement kilns. The WTO established a Panel to discuss the issue.
Brazilian environmental and social movements, supported by organizations from all over the world, strongly opposed EC´s complaint and held the international campaign "Brazil is not Europe's waste dump!" stressing that any country has the right to protect its local health and environment, and that environmental, human rights and public health issues should prevail over commercial interests. The WTO finally accepted Brazil's objective to protect the environment and health, and also agreed that the import ban contributes toward that goal, setting a very important jurisprudence over environmental and trade policies.
For more information, see these excellent reports by the Center for International Environmental Law:
- Background Paper on the Brazil-Retreaded Tires Case (PDF)
- Amicus Curiae Brief - Brazil - Measures Affecting Imports of Retreaded Tires, 2006 (PDF)
- Amicus Curiae Brief to the Appellate Body in Brazil - Measures affecting imports of retreaded tires, 2007 (PDF)
Also see a summary of the case in Portuguese on the Rede Brasileira de Justiça Ambiental website.