EU, USA hold policy talks on car pollution

Transatlantic gathering seeks common ground for possible harmonisation of research, laws

Legislators and environmental experts from the USA, European countries and the EU's main institutions met in Brussels this week at a transatlantic policy "roundtable" on transport and the environment. The aim was to explore the possibilities of future harmonisation in air pollution research and subsequent legislative initiatives. Few concrete conclusions emerged, but participants said the meeting was significant because it was the first to be organised, following similar transatlantic dialogue initiatives between businesses and environmental groups. Officials said one aim of the initiative was to prevent arguments over technical issues from escalating into potential trade disputes, as has happened over a proposed EU ban on aircraft fitted with hushkits (ENDS Daily 7 October). US Congressman Henry Waxman, principal author of the US clean air act, said the exchange had revealed differences in both approaches and outcomes between the EU and the USA. America had been more successful at introducing new cleaner vehicle technology onto the market, he said, while it had not managed to emulate the EU's success in reaching a voluntary agreement with car manufacturers to reduce average carbon dioxide emissions. Future cooperation was possible in the structure of car test cycles and in setting limits on sulphur in fuels, officials said. Harmonised test cycles would reduce overall research costs and facilitate closer final standards.

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Transatlantic Policy Roundtable, tel: +32 660 7098

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