CIEL and partners file amicus curiae brief in the Brazil – Retreaded Tyres case

July 7, 2006

On July 3, 2006, CIEL and partner NGOs filed an amicus curiae brief in the Brazil-Retreaded Tyres case.

The European Commission (EC) is currently challenging Brazil’s ban on the importation of retreaded tires at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The EC complains that Brazil’s ban is disguised protectionism that violates several GATT disciplines. A WTO Panel was established on January 20, 2006 to examine the case.

Brazil justifies its import restrictions on the basis of environmental and human health concerns. Brazil argues that tires contain highly combustible and polluting materials, and that tire incineration releases toxic gases and contaminates Brazil’s soil, water, and air. The accumulation of tires in its territory also results in mosquito propagation because mosquitoes use tires for their breeding ground, which in turn increases the transmission of serious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, and malaria. Because Brazil already has a large amount of tire waste in its territory and considerable difficulties dealing with this waste, additional tire waste resulting from the import of retreaded tires would aggravate the environmental and public health risks associated to tire disposal, because retreaded tires cannot be retreaded again, and thus have a shorter life-span.

The amicus brief provides background on the international legal framework pertaining to the facts of the present dispute (including the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and Their Disposal, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and human rights instruments). The brief stresses the necessity for WTO rules to allow for a life-cycle approach to environmental decision-making.

The first Panel hearing in the case is taking place from July 5-7, 2006. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has asked that the hearing be made public through web-casting, but received a negative response. The hearing will thus be held in secret, as usual. CIEL has also requested that the EC make available to the public its initial written submission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Panel in the Brazil-Retreaded Tyres case, but again, received a negative response, stating that the EC will only make the submission public after the substantive hearing. Brazil immediately published its submission in this case.

The amicus brief is available.

For more information, please contact: Marcos Orellana,, +1 202 785-8700.