"Standard Bearer: How the EU exports its laws" http://www.ft.com/cms/s/6e721ba2-2e7d-11dc-821c-0000779fd2ac.html
I don't care who sets the standards as long as the standards adopted by most of the world are better and sensible than what came before it. And as much as I make comments that Brussels/EC are anal and narrow-minded, sometimes that turns out to be a very good thing. I just wish the US would follow -- and maybe Gov. Schwartzenegger is right. Don't wait for the federal government, do it yourself. And good design is the way forward, laws or no laws.
Sections of note:
"finding it increasingly hard to escape the clutches of the Brussels regulatory machine: "The relative impact of EU regulation on US public policy and US business has been dramatically enhanced. Even if a country does not adopt the [European] standards, the firms that export to the EU do. And since most firms do export to the EU, they have adopted the EU's more stringent standards.""
"Compared with other jurisdictions, the EU's rules tend to be stricter, especially where product safety, consumer protection and environmental and health requirements are concerned."
"the global impact of three recent EU laws on chemicals, electronic waste and hazardous substances: "The EU is increasingly replacing the United States as the defacto setter of globalproduct standards and the centre of much global regulatory standard setting is shifting from Washington DC to Brussels."Japan, for example, has copied a whole batch of EU environmental laws..."
"Immediate EU neighbours such as Switzerland and Norway as well as countries in eastern Europe, the Balkans and North Africa are committed to keeping their regulatory regimes as close as possible to the EU approach to ease trade. Countries hoping to join the 27 must in any case incorporate the Union's rules and regulations down to the very last line."
"But the key factor is having the highest standard. Global companies develop products for the global market and that means they have to follow the highest standard - which today tends to be European."
"This means European automotive groups such as Volkswagen or Renault can export their vehicles to Japan, India or China without having to remodel their cars or seek the approval of foreign safety authorities. Their US rivals, meanwhile, are often forced to invest in additional tests and costly tweaks to their models before they can be shipped abroad."
"They all know that Brussels is slowly but steadily emerging as the regulatory capital of the world. As much as some loathe it, it is a trend that business leaders and policymakers from Tokyo to Washington feel they cannot afford to ignore."