Nanopublic recently brought to our attention a report from Stratfor, a global intelligence consultancy, that focused on predictions for global industry regulations, including nanotechnology. You have to subscribe to the website to read the report but Nanopublic passes on a key excerpt:
Many countries are beginning to investigate methods for regulating nanotech applications, particularly with consumer safety considerations in mind, but none yet have put forth a comprehensive regulation. If a successful movement for regulation of nanotechnology develops in Europe or Japan, the precedent would change the situation facing the industry markedly. With that in mind, the U.S. nanotech industry could drum up support for its preferred regulatory structure from a group considered credible in the United States (for example, the Harvard Medical School or the National Research Council), but this would not ensure that a country with greater influence among U.S. legislators (the European Union or Japan) wouldn’t be able to sway the course of U.S. policy.
The crucial point, of course, has little to do with the future of nanotechnology regulation, but rather with the fact that industry and other interest groups increasingly will find themselves monitoring social and political events worldwide — including regions in which they have no market ambitions — simply in order to shore up their regulatory efforts in the United States or other countries of primary concern.
This is a timely reminder that we in the Untied States need to keep up with EU and Japanese regulation of nanotechnology too. As with dot coms, there is a "first mover" advantage which is one reason this blog spent a significant amount of time focusing on the Berkeley regulations.