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The Impact of Regulations on Agro-Food Trade

The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Agreements

The Impact of Regulations on Agro-Food Trade by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
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Agricultural trade disputes over issues such as beef hormones and genetically modified organisms have received wide public attention and illustrated the trade-off between domestic and international policy objectives. Although often viewed predominantly from a domestic perspective, food safety and other technical regulations can have significant trans-boundary implications. Regulations can facilitate and enhance trade, if they reduce the risk that consumers might purchase unsafe food and thereby increase confidence in imported products. On the other hand, such regulations can become barriers to trade, in particular if they place demands on importers that are more costly to meet than the requirements applied to domestic producers.

As tariff barriers are being reduced in successive rounds of international trade negotiations, concerns have been expressed that the diminished tariff protection is being replaced by tighter regulation of agriculture and food imports. The economic stakes are considerable and trade concerns over food safety and other technical measures are bound to remain important items on the agenda of trade policy makers. This report examines pertinent issues at the interface between domestic policy objectives, technical regulations and agricultural trade. It also discusses approaches to measuring the trade impacts of food safety and other technical measures, and presents empirical evidence concerning the trade effects of resolving controversial food safety issues.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; January 2003
154 pages; ISBN 9789264105423
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Title: The Impact of Regulations on Agro-Food Trade
Author: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development