How far from harmonization are sanitary, phytosanitary and quality-related standards? An exporter’s perception approach
Harmonization of trade regulations and standards is perhaps the most contentious issue regarding export markets due to the impacts that it can have on trade. We determine the extent of harmonization as perceived by exporters with respect to the major Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPSs) and quality measures which Chile faces in 16 international fresh fruit markets. The methodology combined qualitative and quantitative techniques. First, the most relevant safety and quality standards and regulations were identified and ranked. Second, a representative sample of exporters was interviewed to assess their perceptions regarding the level of stringency across markets and time for selected regulations. Perceptions were ranked on a likert scale and based on this scale a stringency index was constructed. The results show that Chile faces regulations which can be grouped into the following categories: (i) phytosanitary measures; (ii) tolerance limits for pesticide residues and contaminants; (iii) hygiene requirements; (iv) labeling, marking and packaging; (v) product and process standards; and (vi) registration procedures and other import requirements. The number of regulations varied among countries, ranging from 13 to 3 out of the 14 considered in the study. The most stringent country among the sample as perceived by exporters was México, whereas the least stringent was Saudi Arabia. Additionally, exporters agreed that stringency has increased over time with an average of 15% between 2005 and 2009.
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