GERMAN WASTE EXPORTS




   

          CASE NUMBER:        XXX

          CASE MNEMONIC:      GERMHAZ

          CASE NAME:          German Waste Exports

A.        IDENTIFICATION

1.        The Issue

          A study by Hannah Pearce has revealed that the higher

the environmental standards at home, the more toxic waste is sent

abroad (Pearce, 37). Countries in Western Europe with the highest

environmental standards (Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Austria,

Switzerland, and parts of Northern Italy) export the most waste. 



Specifically, the "dump and run"  waste disposal has been going

on between Germany and Eastern and Central Europe for at least

the last decade.  Toxic waste trade in Eastern Europe after

liberalization of  borders is "increasingly under the guise of

recycling, energy production and technology transfer"  and since

the revolutions of 1989, hazardous waste trade has increased due

to trade liberalization in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Specifically, the issue of this trade-environment case study is

that Germany remains the largest hazardous waste exporter in

Europe.  The case of interest here is the German exports of

hazardous pesticides to Romania.   

2.        Description

     In 1988, a survey reported by former East Germany showed

that West Germany exported more than a million tons of toxic

waste per year, and sent 65% of it to massive and primitive

facilities.  The liberalized trade and unregulated markets, which

resulted from the borders opening in 1989 in East/Central Europe,

apparently led to a take-off in waste trade.  

     In early March, 1993, the German government was forced to

pay for two trains to go to Romania to recover more than 400 tons

of toxic German pesticides.  Local farmers in Romania had been

told the pesticides could be re-used, but Greenpeace discovered

the pesticides leaking into the environment from damaged and

rusting barrels. Thus, it is evident that a ban on exports of

hazardous waste from Germany (and any EU country, for that

matter) is in question in this case.   

     Waste trade toward the east also provided cheaper ways of

waste disposal, and provided "much-sought-after foreign

currency..." .  However, since Poland, Romania, and Lithuania

have recently begun to regulate waste imports, waste dealers in

Germany are shifting their exports to Albania, Hungary, Ukraine,

Georgia, Estonia and even Kazakhstan.  The following are some

examples of German exports to East Europe and explanations of how

intertwined the issue is with the economy.  After 400,000 tons of

out of date German pesticides were shipped to Albania and dumped

near a lagoon on the Yugoslav border, farmers (unaware of the

danger) emptied the contents into the lagoon so they could put

the containers to use.  Between July 1991 and March 1992, 795

tons of banned pesticides were sent to Albania from East Germany.



Since the war in Yugoslavia, the country has become a haven for

"no questions asked" waste transport and dumping for cash. 

Between 1986 and 1993 the West sent over 34 million tons of old

chemicals to Russia for recycling or disposal.  Germany sent 28

million tons of the 34 million.  

     Rosemarie Pexa of Greenpeace Austria says that most of the

trade in waste is done illegally.  For the case of Germany and

East Europe,  the community has enacted tough laws on waste

management recently (especially for pesticides, oil and toxic

materials).  Thus, East European firms act as middlemen, taking

on the waste for disposal, no questions asked, and disposing of

it as cheaply as possible.  A Greenpeace Report claims that

between 1987 and 1993, there were 96 reported attempts by 95

firms to illegally export a total of three million tons of

hazardous waste to Russia.  

     Another recent angle to waste exports is that companies are

seeking ways to "exploit 'recycling' provisions in the new Basel

Convention on trans-boundary trade" in the face of tighter

restrictions on waste disposal.  Apparently, there are no

incentives in place to support a shift toward clean production

and safer methods of waste disposal.  Even legal trade is a

problem.  Germany can export waste legally if it is for "reuse"

or "recycling" or even as "humanitarian aid".  An example is fly

ash, which is legally exported to the East for use in road

construction.  Greenpeace surveys indicate reveal that 90% of the

waste trade projects are labeled as "further use" or "recycling"

in keeping with the law. 

     The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary

Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal "may prove to be

an insufficient instrument by itself".  This is because the

agreement "simply requires prior informed consent and will be

difficult to enforce".  In the case of Germany exporting the

toxic pesticides to Romania, the insufficiency of the Basel

Convention alone becomes compounded.  In the context of the

European Union, Germany has the right as a member state to

license the import, export, and transit of hazardous wastes.  "It

is remarkably difficult for proponents of free trade to recognize

that to succeed in their overriding goal they must ensure that

trade in hazardous waste is rigidly controlled; otherwise waste

management scandals risk bringing the structure of trade

liberalization into disrepute." 

3.        Related Cases

     Keyword Clusters

     (1): Trade Product                 =    WASTE 

     (2): Bio-geography                 =    TEMPerate

     (3): Environmental Problem         =    [POLA]

4.        Draft Author:  Pamela J. Ram



B.        Legal Clusters

5.        Discourse and Status:   DISagreement and INPROG

6.        Forum and Scope:   GERMany and BILATeral

7.        Decision Breadth:   16+ (Germany and most East/Central

                                   Europe and NIS countries)

     Economic factors will most likely keep this issue in

progress for a long time.  Since recent revolution and reform in

the Central and Eastern European countries beginning in 1989

(earlier for Hungary), these countries have become eager to

become part of the European Union.  In their pursuit of

membership in the trade region, Eastern Europe will most likely

maintain liberalized trade in as many industries as possible. 

Since the sensitive sectors such as agriculture, coal, steel, and

textiles, provide barriers to trade for both east and west, the

hazardous waste trade industry seems a profitable, easy way to

begin to edge into European Community membership.

8.        Legal Standing:   LAW

C.        GEOGRAPHIC Clusters

9.        Geographic Locations

     a.   Geographic Domain   :    EUROPE

     b.   Geographic Site     :    Eastern Europe [EEUR]

     c.   Geographic Impact   :    Eastern Europe [EEUR]         

10.       Sub-National Factors:    NO

11.       Type of Habitat:  TEMPerate

D.        TRADE Clusters

12.       Type of Measure:    Export Ban [EXBAN]

     The proposal to ban the shipment of all hazardous waste from

the European community to developing countries came from Denmark

in 1993.  However, Germany and Britain opposed this proposal. 

Denmark's Environment Minister Svend Auken would like all EC

states to "incorporate a ban on hazardous waste exports within

the Basel Convention" (global treaty governing waste trade),

even though Denmark is not even party to the Basel Convention.

     What necessitates a ban on exporting from Germany to East

Europe specifically is the fact that Eastern European countries

do not fall under the "developing country" category, so Western

countries could stop exporting to Third World countries but

continue exporting to Eastern Europe.   

13.       Direct vs. Indirect Impacts:   DIRect

14.       Relation of Measure to Environmental Impact

     a.   Directly Related    :    YES  WASTE

      "Economists, traders, and multinational corporations see

waste as an emerging global resource because it has value and

often can be traded like a commodity."

     b.   Indirectly Related  :    NO

     c.   Not Related:        :    NO

     d.   Process Related     :    YES  [POLL]    

15.       Trade Product Identification: WASTE

     The following are some examples of hazardous waste products

being exported:  smelting dust, sludge, rubble, bloody hospital

syringes, amputated limbs, expired chemicals and paints, shredded

clothing, broken furniture.



16.       Economic Data



     Industry Output ($): 27 billion/year traded between

Germany-East Europe

17.       Impact of Measure on Trade Competitiveness:  MEDium

18.       Industry Sector:    WASTE

19.       Exporter and Importer:   GERMany [GERM] and Ukraine,

     Albania, Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia [EEUR]

E.        ENVIRONMENT Clusters

20.       Environmental Problem Type:   [POLL] 

21.       Name, Type, and Diversity of Species

     Name:          N/A

     Type:          N/A

     Diveristy:     N/A

22.       Resource Impact and Effect:   MEDium and REGUL

23.       Urgency and Lifetime:    N/A

24.       Substitutes:   [SYNTH]

     Synthetic alternatives to pesticides and other hazardous

products.

F.        OTHER Factors

25.       Culture:  YES

     Culture is relevant here due to the differing economic

systems of East and Western Europe.  The legacy of Communist

ideology and economic development of Eastern European countries

until 1989 affects the cause of the problem.  These countries had

been isolated from the global trading system for decades, and now

are suddenly members. The Western Europeans' experience with

democracy and market economies have influenced the way they

conduct trade in hazardous wastes to the East. When the East

acclimates itself to the effects of trade liberalization, then

these countries will decrease their imports of hazardous waste.

26.       Trans-Border:  YES

      The affects of waste trade involve cross-border

transactions, as well as cross-border consequences for the

environment.

27.       Rights:   NO

28.       Relevant Literature



Coll, Steven. "Free Market Intensifies Waste Problem:  Rich 

     Nations Dumping on Poorer Ones". The Washington Post.

     Section I, Page A1, (March 23, 1994).



"France: French and German Environment Ministers Bring Meeting 

     Forward in Light of Waste Trade". Le Monde. Reuter Textline

     (August 19, 1992).



"Germany: Topfer Prepares Priorities for 1994". Chemicals

     Business News Base, Reuter Textline.  Vol. 60 No. 1589.

     (November 4, 1993).



"Germany -World Waste Trade Champion". Chemical Business Newsbase

     -Greenpeace Business. No. 16 (April 20, 1994).



MacKenzie, Debora. "Europe's Toxic Waste". World Health. 46th 

     Year (September\October 1993) pp. 6-8.



McKenzie, Alecia. "Environment: EC Hazardous Waste Proposal 

     Opposed by Germany". Inter Press Service (Brussels: March

     22, 1993).



Moss, Ambler H. Jr. "Free Trade and Environmental Enhancement:  

     Are They Compatible in the Americas?" Trade and the

     Environment- Law, Economics, and Policy".(1993), pp.109-121.



Ratnasabapathy, Senthil. "Environment: West Europe Send Its 

     Deadly Waste East". Inter Press Service. (Brussels: February

     11, 1994).



Rose, Patty. "Closed Doors Abroad:  International Waste Movements

     are Becoming More Regulated, and Self-Sufficiency is

     Encouraged".  Chemical Marketing Reporter. Schnell

     Publishing Company Inc. Vol. 244, No. 22, p. SR8, (November

     29, 1993).



Pearce, Hannah. "Dump and Run-Toxic Waste Exports". New

     Statesman and Society, vol. 6, no. 238 (February 5, 1993),

     pp. 37-42.



Shatara, Virginia. "Blame the Germans". Fort Lauderdale

     Sun-Sentinel (June 5, 1994).



von Moltke, Konrad. "A European Perspective on Trade and the 

     Environment". Trade and the Environment-Law, Economics, and

     Policy (1993), pp.93-109.



Zaelke D., Orbuch P., Housman R. Trade and the Environment-Law, 

     Economics, and Policy. (Washington, D.C.:  Island Press,

     1993). 

Refer  ences