IN 1947, twenty-three nations ratified the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Since then, tariffs and quotas have been progressively reduced throughout much of the industrialized world, resulting in greatly expanded international trade. The Uruguay Round negotiations, concluded in December 1993, extended GATT's reach to agriculture, services, and intellectual property and clarified policies toward other aspects of trade. What steps remain to carry international economic integration beyond the impressive accomplishments already attained?
In this book, Alan O. Sykes analyzes "technical barriers" to international trade in goods. These include impediments to trade created by divergent national product standards and regulations, and by the systems that trading nations use to verify conformity with applicable standards and regulations. He traces the history of the problem and sets out the available empirical evidence on its importance. He then uses economic theory to suggest when differences in standards and regulations may be desirable or undesirable and explains how an ideal conformity assessment system should operate. The book also contains a survey of the legal response to the problem of technical barriers in the World Trade Organization system, the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the U.S. federal system, as well as an overview of the operation of international standardization entities such as the International Organization for Standardization and the Codex Alimentarius. Finally, the author assesses the adequacy of the existing international response to technical barriers and makes a