Food Safety, South-North Asymmetries, and the Clash of Regulatory Regimes

By Aginam, Obijiofor | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, October 2007 | Go to article overview

Food Safety, South-North Asymmetries, and the Clash of Regulatory Regimes


Aginam, Obijiofor, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD ... The prayer is thus not purely a collection of spiritual recitals.... It turns ... to the mundane requirements of food, clothing, shelter--what would, in human rights parlance, be called economic rights.... We must also take account of the word "daily." There is here a clear injunction against anti-social conduct such as hoarding or cornering the market in essential commodities.

--C.G Weeramantry (1)

ABSTRACT

This Article explores the globalization of food safety concerns driven by the phenomenon of economic globalization, and the "legalization" of food safety disputes within the rules-based architecture of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Focusing on the interaction between WTO norms and the treaties of other multilateral organizations, the Article discusses the implications of the "clash of food safety regulatory regimes" for South-North asymmetrical relations between the rich and poor countries. The Article also discusses global economic diplomacy and the emerging WTO jurisprudence on the Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures (SPS) disputes. This Article explores both the perceived and actual marginalization of most developing and least-developed countries by the embedded structural impediments and onerous obligations in food safety disputes. The Article discusses the European Union's embargo on fresh fish from East African countries following a cholera outbreak and argues for mutually reinforcing linkages between the SPS and pre-existing foodsafety-related norms, standards, and agreements of other multilateral organizations, including the emerging "norm" of the precautionary principle.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  I. INTRODUCTION: THE CRUX OF THE ARGUMENT
 II. OVERVIEW OF THE SPS AGREEMENT
III. FOOD SAFETY DISPUTES AND THE CLASH OF
     REGULATORY REGIMES AT THE WTO
 IV. SOUTH-NORTH ASYMMETRIES AND THE POLITICS
     OF TRADE AND FOOD SAFETY DIPLOMACY
  V. EPILOGUE: TOWARDS A HUMANE FOOD SAFETY
     REGIME

I. INTRODUCTION: THE CRUX OF THE ARGUMENT

The globalization of food safety and health concerns, partly driven by the phenomenon of economic globalization and the "legalization" of food safety disputes within the rules-based architecture of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has raised complex regulatory questions within the mandate of relevant international organizations. This clash of food safety and health regulatory regimes implicates the South-North (2) asymmetrical relations between the rich and poor countries, global economic diplomacy, and the emerging jurisprudence of the WTO on the Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures (SPS)(3) disputes. This Article explores both the perceived and actual marginalization of most developing countries, especially those in Africa, by the embedded structural impediments and onerous obligations in food safety disputes. A litany of seminal works on the transition from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to the WTO in 1995 documents well how a legally enforceable dispute-settlement procedure transformed the international trade architecture from trade in goods to trade in services, intellectual property, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. (4)

Although the multiple dynamics of the rules-based international trade architecture built on the institutional pillars of the WTO have been intensely debated by academic scholars and global civil society groups, (5) the real question is no longer whether free trade is good or bad for countries, but rather whether the contemporary rules of free trade are fair, humane, transparent, and even-handed in the context of South-North asymmetries. Has the scope of global trade agreements extended and intruded into areas and sectors that impede social policy in the national domain of countries? Did the "single undertaking" package, in which every member accepted all WTO agreements, enclose the domestic policy space, especially in developing countries, for certain aspects of social policy and provision of public goods?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Food Safety, South-North Asymmetries, and the Clash of Regulatory Regimes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.