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EU Sanitary Standards and Sub-Saharan African Agricultural Exports: A Case Study of the Livestock Sector in East Africa


  • Desta Melaku Geboye

    (University of Dundee)


For most sub-Saharan African countries, participation in international trade almost always means exporting primary, often agricultural, products and importing machinery and other manufacturing goods. In appreciation of the detrimental economic effects of this situation on SSA countries, the EU has had one of the oldest and most generous preferential schemes for the benefit of these countries. This article argues, based on detailed analysis of EU food import law and its application to livestock products coming from East Africa, that these otherwise generous preferential schemes have been deprived of any effect by the stringent sanitary and phytosanitary requirements that are beyond the capacity of the producers in these countries to satisfy. It further argues that the current approach of the WTO system regarding SPS issues, which leaves countries free to impose standards of their choosing without any regard for the impact of such measures on the lives of producers in other countries, only accords a convenient blanket with which to wrap measures otherwise motivated by protectionist interests. It concludes that the only way the EU or any other country could support the SSA agricultural sector and the large number of poor people working in it is by helping governments and producers to enhance their production standards.

Suggested Citation

  • Desta Melaku Geboye, 2008. "EU Sanitary Standards and Sub-Saharan African Agricultural Exports: A Case Study of the Livestock Sector in East Africa," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 98-123, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:lawdev:v:1:y:2008:i:1:n:6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Clark, Don P, 1991. "Trade versus Aid: Distributions of Third World Development Assistance," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(4), pages 829-837, July.
    2. McCulloch, Rachel & Pinera, Jose, 1977. "Trade as Aid: The Political Economy of Tariff Preferences for Developing Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 959-967, December.
    3. Céline Carrère & Jaime de Melo, 2015. "Are Different Rules of Origin Equally Costly? Estimates from NAFTA," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Developing Countries in the World Economy, chapter 12, pages 277-298 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Cipollina & Federica Demaria & Filomena Pietrovito, 2016. "Determinants of Trade: the Role of Innovation in Presence of Quality Standards," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 455-475, December.

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