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Harmonization of Water Services

In May 2001, the French national standards body AFNOR (Association Française de Normalisation) proposed that drinking water regulations be brought under the purview of a global standard-setting institution called the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ANFOR is tabling a proposal that would create a new committee in ISO to promulgate global rules for the management of drinking water, wastewater and rainwater sewerage. France is home to the largest water companies in the world. Best known for their trade in bottled water, these corporations also contract to provide water services to federal and local governments in the developed and developing world. There is little doubt that an ISO committee dominated by these industry giants would create global standards to encourage the privatization and contracting out of these water services. As ISO standards are specifically recognized by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the world’s presumptively "trade-legal" standards, any rules created in this committee could undermine domestic regulation of water and water services.

    » trade | harmonization | water


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