Product standards and developing country agricultural exports: The case of the European Union
This paper shows that voluntary product standards in EU food and agriculture markets can have significant trade effects. In particular for all countries and for goods that are raw or lightly processed, EU standards can often be trade-inhibiting. However, internationally harmonized EU standards—those that are equivalent to ISO norms—have much weaker trade effects, and in some cases are even trade-promoting. EU standards may have hurt developed countries more than developing countries, but this result is dependent on the sector. At a policy level, the results highlight the importance of dealing with the trade effects of voluntary standards in major markets, not just mandatory public standards.
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