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Promoting an Open and Equitable Global Food System

IPCIssue Brief

Measuring the Impact of SPS Standards on Market Access

By Tim Josling and Donna Roberts

July 2011

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Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are promulgated by governments in order to protect human, animal, and plant health in importing countries, but can also be formulated or implemented in such a way that makes it unnecessarily difficult for foreign producers to compete.

This paper reviews ongoing efforts to gather information about non tariff measures (NTMs) and their economic impacts, and calls for more systematic and compatible efforts to track NTMs and to provide quantitative assessments of their impact on trade, in order to “help illuminate a dark corner of international commerce.”


Tracking the Implementation of Internationally Agreed Standards in Food and Agricultural Production

By Donna Roberts and Tim Josling

July 2011

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A key principle of the SPS Agreement urges countries towards greater harmonization of health and safety standards and calls upon them to base their SPS measures on international standards, guidelines or recommendations. This paper reviews the extent to which this encourage of the use of international standards has been successful and concludes that the use of international standards has remained low despite the endorsement and encouragement of the WTO.

These papers serve as background briefs for the September 2011 seminar, "Non Tariff Measures in Food and Agriculture: Which Road Ahead?" co-organized by IPC and the OECD.

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