WTO said that no “safe use” of asbestos was possible even in a developed country like France and the country was right in banning its use, manufacture and trade.
In 1997, France banned all forms of asbestos fibres and products prompting Canada, one of the largest producers and exporters of white asbestos, to go to WTO’s Appellate Authority against what it called a barrier to ‘‘free trade.’’
France won the bitterly contested fight where a wealth of scientific evidence was presented to show why a country cannot permit ‘‘safe, controlled’’ use of asbestos.
Switching back to the aircraft carrier Clemenceau, which has a reported 50 to 500 tonnes of asbestos on it, the liability of its safe handling lies with the contractors in India. Moreover, the French authorities have reportedly not even been transparent about he details of the contents on the ship. On the heels of this comes the most positive move so far by the India authorities.
A Supreme Court Hearing Committee recommended the Supreme court not to allow the ship enter Indian waters, unless several of the conditions are met regarding the exact disclosure of contents abroad the ship. While this is certainly a positive step in making such type of activities more accoutable, we still need more to be done in setting up policies to counter the double standards of "developed" nations.