A comparative institutional analysis of agreements on product standards
The WTO and the EU have chosen two different agreements on product standards. While the WTO's approach is primarily based on a "National Treatment" (NT) principle, the EU's approach crucially relies on a principle of "Mutual Recognition" (MR). This paper offers a first look at the comparative performance of these two principles. We show that standards are imposed for levels of externalities that are too low under NT and too high under MR. This suggests that NT should be preferred to MR when the amount of trade in goods characterized by high levels of externalities is large.
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