This is from Inside U.S. Trade ($):
Representatives of two U.S. regulatory agencies yesterday (June 24) expressed varying degrees of skepticism toward the idea of expanded regulatory cooperation with the European Union under a U.S.-EU trade deal, and raised fears that an agreement could slow down their rule making.
Robert Adler, acting chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), said he worries including regulatory cooperation obligations in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could make his agency even more hamstrung than it already is when it comes to issuing regulations.
Adler directly rebuffed the idea -- proposed by the European Commission -- that the trade deal should establish a new "Regulatory Cooperation Council" that would allow greater input from EU regulators and stakeholders in the U.S. regulatory process, and vice-versa.
Imposing such a procedure "could extend an incredibly cumbersome process that we face when we write regulations," Adler said. He explained that in 1981, Congress amended the CPSC's statute to require extensive cost-benefit analyses before publishing a rule. The consequence is that the agency has been able to issue only nine safety standards in the intervening 33 years, he said.
"The idea that we would then have to take a rule that we have spent so much time writing and go to an additional approval means that you're going to have many, many, many years of waiting for safety regulation. And I think that we all know that safety delayed is safety denied in too many respects," he said at an event in Washington hosted by the Transatlantic Consumers Dialogue (TACD).
Separately, William Jordan, deputy director in the office of pesticide programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), signaled skepticism toward TTIP regulatory cooperation efforts by saying it remains to be seen whether they will be "productive or a big waste of time."
Speaking on a different panel at the same TACD event, Jordan also acknowledged that evaluating the potential impact of a rule on trans-Atlantic trade would add to a pile of more than a dozen assessments the EPA must conduct for other areas in publishing a rule, potentially slowing it down further.
"The fact that there may be trade impacts from a regulatory decision doesn't necessarily mean that it changes the regulatory decision, but it might mean that you look for different ways of achieving or implementing a goal," Jordan said.
"The downside that I see is adding yet one more kind of analysis to develop when taking a regulatory action … There are usually about 17 sections that go at the end of every rule making the EPA does. To go to another one adds just a little bit more work and has the potential to slow things down. I think the serious question is, is it worth it?"
I think regulatory cooperation has real potential, but I'm not sure it can work if the regulators are not fully on board.