Yesterday the White House released a new Executive Order on “Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation.” The stated purpose of the E.O. is to encourage the harmonization of regulatory requirements to simplify regulatory compliance, reduce costs for transational companies and facilitate international trade. As OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein explains in a White House release:
The new Executive Order will promote American exports, economic growth, and job creation by helping to eliminate unnecessary regulatory differences between the United States and other countries and by making sure that we do not create new ones.
As I discuss in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, the order makes clear that in eliminating such differences, we will respect domestic law and will not compromise U.S. priorities and prerogatives. Even while insisting on those priorities and prerogatives, we can eliminate pointless red tape. Today’s global economy relies on supply chains that cross national borders (sometimes more than once), and different regulatory requirements in different countries can significantly increase costs for companies doing business abroad. As the President’s Jobs Council recently noted, international regulatory cooperation canreduce these costs and help American businesses access foreign markets. Such cooperation can also help U.S. regulators more effectively protect the environment and the health and safety of the American people.
Sunstein also made the case for the E.O. in the WSJ, providing an example of the sort of harmonization the Administration has in mind:
Today’s action builds on many other administration efforts to eliminate unjustified regulatory costs and to reduce burdens by promoting international regulatory cooperation.
One example: The U.S. has long required employers to use warning symbols to inform employees of potential safety hazards. Other nations require warnings, too, but in many cases they mandate the use of different symbols. The result of the disparate requirements is to