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Dow to challenge Quebec’s 2,4-D ban

The Quebec government’s ban on the cosmetic use of herbicide 2,4-D may face a challenge from the chemical’s U.S. maker under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Dow AgroSciences plans to argue in a “Chapter 11” challenge that Canada breached its NAFTA obligations when Quebec in 2003 announced it would phase in a ban on residential, cosmetic use of 2,4-D and several other pesticides by banning their application and sale.

Quebec’s ban does not apply to 2,4-D’s sale or application for its registered agricultural uses.

The province’s ban, Dow said in a release Wednesday, “went into force on April 3, 2006 despite the government of Quebec’s own advice that there was no scientific basis for this ban.”

Dow said it made “numerous attempts” to work
with the province in using a “science-based, transparent
policymaking framework” for the decision affecting 2,4-D.

Dow Agro, in filing its notice, said Wednesday it seeks a C$2 million settlement, plus legal costs.

“This challenge is aimed at ensuring that important public policy
decisions are based on scientific evidence, predictability and a clear set of
principles, and are managed within a transparent framework,” said Jim
Wispinski, CEO of Indianapolis-based Dow Agro, in the company’s release.

“The actions of the government of Quebec are tantamount to a blanket ban based on non-scientific criteria, and we are of the view that this is in breach to certain provisions of NAFTA,” he said.

“We don’t welcome this step, but feel it is necessary given the circumstances.”

By that, the company meant regulators in Canada, the U.S. and Europe have all reviewed 2,4-D “on the basis of modern science and concluded that it is safe for use according to label instructions.”

Dow, in its release, recounted Health Canada’s May 16 announcement that its Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) “extensive review” on 2,4-D found the product can be used “safely according to label directions” for many lawn, turf and ag applications, and that the product meets Canada’s pesticide health and safety regulations.

Among other ongoing ag-related NAFTA Chapter 11 challenges against Canada are GL Farms of Delaware, which claims Canada is “arbitrarily and discriminatorily interfering” with its milk marketing business, Ontario’s Georgian Bay Milk Co., which seeks to export milk from Canada to the U.S. via dairy farms outside Canada’s supply-managed quota system.

In another Chapter 11 case, Connecticut-based Chemtura Corp., formerly known as Crompton, is challenging Canada’s ban on the use of lindane-based seed treatments in canola crops.

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