Publication Globalization - Southern Africa - Socio-ecological Transformation - Food Sovereignty Implementing an Export Ban on Hazardous Pesticides from Germany

A legal opinion on the scope to eliminate double standards and protect our health and environment



February 2023

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The German government has announced it will implement an export ban on certain hazardous pesticides. A draft of the implementation policy will be presented in spring 2023. The goal of the export ban is to contribute to eliminating the double standards in the pesticide trade that arise when active ingredients and pesticide products that are not approved or authorized in the EU due to their environmental and health hazards or risks are nevertheless exported from Germany to countries outside the EU.

Mirka Fries works on international crimes and accountability at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

Ida Westphal is a lawyer with a focus on agricultural and international law.

A legal opinion written by Mirka Fries (LL.M.) and Ida Westphal (Ass. Iur.) and commissioned by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, INKOTA netzwerk, the Pesticide Action Network Germany (PAN Germany), and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation examines the potential scope of such an export ban and if it could be compatible with EU law as well as the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

A German export ban — but also national export bans by other EU member states — will be particularly effective in countering double standards in the pesticide trade as long as both active ingredients and pesticide products are covered, and export rights are only granted for substances that were approved or authorized as a result of a thorough assessment of their hazard levels and risks to humans and the environment under current EU regulatory framework. In this way, the same standards of health and environmental protection applicable for marketing within the EU would apply to the export of such pesticides.

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