Environmental Regulation and Food Safety: Studies of Protection and Protectionism

Environmental Regulation and Food Safety: Studies of Protection and Protectionism

Environmental Regulation and Food Safety: Studies of Protection and Protectionism

Environmental Regulation and Food Safety: Studies of Protection and Protectionism


Environmental, health and sanitary requirements in developed countries are sometimes perceived in developing countries as non-tariff barriers to trade. This book shows that such restrictions are perceived to be more stringent during the domestic production season or when stock levels are high. The authors argue that scientific data for specific thresholds or limit values sometimes appear to be questionable and that they vary widely between countries. In some cases, products that had initially been refused access to a domestic market have subsequently been allowed access but at a lower price. Thus standards are perceived to be a mechanism for bidding down the export price. Countries from the same region with similar water or climatic conditions may be subject to differential degrees of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS). Measures to address protectionist aspects of standards must be devised to ensure free and fair trade. The contributors to this book show that there are good reasons for suspecting that these standards could indeed be protectionist. Utilising a wealth of empirical evidence, the book includes case studies written by authors based in the regions and does not fail to address awkward issues such as whose standards? , why standards? and whether cartelisation is the consequence of standards. The contributors also address the political economy of standard setting, not simply the technical process, north-south issues and the political economy of organic food markets. Environmental Regulation and Food Safety will appeal to policymakers and NGOs, researchers and scholars of international and development economics as well as industry strategists. Copublished with Canada's International Development Research Centre.


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada, has implemented a technical cooperation project to help identify policies that can address constraints faced by developing countries, especially the least developed countries (LDCs), in responding to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and environmental requirements in international markets. Studies were undertaken in three developing regions: South Asia, Eastern and Southern Africa and Central America. Sub-regional or national workshops were held in New Delhi, India (11–13 January 2001), San José, Costa Rica (20 August 2001) and Kampala, Uganda (13 September). These resulted in five scoping papers. The first paper discusses the main results of the project and some ideas for follow-up activities. The other four papers deal with three different regions and with organic agriculture and include three case studies. They are as follows:

Paper 2: regional scoping paper on South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal and
Sri Lanka)

Paper 3: regional scoping paper on Central America (Costa Rica in particular)

Paper 4: regional scoping paper on Eastern and Southern Africa (experiences
of Kenya, Mozambique, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda)

Paper 5: scoping paper on organic agriculture (Costa Rica, India and Uganda).

This project was coordinated with similar activities by other intergovernmental organizations. For example, the New Delhi workshop was organized in cooperation with the World Bank. Similarly, the UNCTAD and the OECD secretariats coordinated activities under this project and the OECD project on 'The Development Dimension of Trade and Environment: Strengthening OECD and developing country co-operation to help developing country exporters meet environmental standards'.

UNCTAD's work in this area is in accordance with the Bangkok Plan of Action, which called upon UNCTAD to promote analysis and consensus building in full cooperation with other relevant organizations, so that issues that could potentially yield benefits to developing countries could be identified. This included 'examining the potential trade and developmental effects and opportunities of environmental measures, taking into account the concerns . . .

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