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IPC Position Paper No. 8

Reforming Global Meat Policy and Regulations

An Overview

In developed countries, consumers’ preference for meat products is evolving due to lifestyle changes, health perceptions, safety concerns and other factors. At the same time, demand for meat is rising in many developing countries and industrializing countries due to increasing income levels. The meat industry is experiencing dynamic change and growth as a result of this shift in demand. In order that this growth can continue, national and international regulatory systems must be recast. The next WTO round of talks represents an important opportunity to foster the continued growth of the meat industry and its response to changing consumer needs.

This paper by the International Policy Council (IPC) makes policy recommendations for increasing trade in meat products and ensuring a safe and reliable meat supply capable of responding to these changing consumption and dietary needs. The paper urges the next round of WTO talks to further reform meat policies through increased market access, the reduction of export subsidies and domestic supports and other measures.

Governments should not be allowed to use food safety regulations that are not based in scientific methods as barriers to trade, the IPC argues. Greater transparency of food safety requirements would facilitate the harmonization of national standards. Where harmonization is not possible, equivalency and mutual recognition agreements would facilitate their acceptance. Improved labeling systems would help provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices and would ease the pressure on trade relations. Regulations established in response to concerns over animal welfare, the environment, or production processes, which are not based on scientific methods, also should not be accepted as trade barriers. In these ways, the IPC believes that trade in safe, high-quality meat products can continue to grow to the benefit of consumers and producers worldwide.

FULL TEXT (.pdf format)

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