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Environment and Quality Standards in the WTO: New Protectionism in Agricultural Trade? A European Perspective

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  • Mahe, Louis-Pascal
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    The Uruguay Round Agricultural Agreement will discipline traditional agricultural policies, particularly in the long run. It is argued that the same trade interests and lobby pressures will trigger a new protectionism based on non-tariff barriers, under the cover of objectives related to health, quality, environment and ethics. Economic theory provides some guidelines for distinguishing between the measures necessary to alleviate market failures and those which are protectionist abuses of consumer or environmental protection objectives. The WTO has implemented an efficient system of checks to limit this tendency, as can be seen from the Agreements related to these issues and recent panel decisions. However, WTO activities seem to be limited by the role of objectivity and science in the case of global commons and ethics. Moreover, the WTO is the outcome of a voluntary treaty and tends to focus more on barriers to trade and less on global welfare losses related to world commons and to ethics. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

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    Article provided by Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics in its journal European Review of Agricultural Economics.

    Volume (Year): 24 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 3-4 ()
    Pages: 480-503

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:erevae:v:24:y:1997:i:3-4:p:480-503
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