IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Transparency of Complex Regulation: How Should WTO Trade Policy Reviews Deal with Sanitary and Phytosanitary Policies?


  • Zahrnt, Valentin


Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures that protect human, animal, and plant health are impeding trade and provoking high-profile disputes. This paper argues that the WTO’s Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM) could play an important role in defusing the trade-disrupting potential of SPS regulation. The most promising avenue is to review in greater detail the policy-making procedures that lead to SPS measures. How transparent and independent are countries’ risk assessments of health hazards? Which provisions have countries taken to account for trade effects when selecting SPS measures? Do countries give foreign interests adequate possibility to voice their concerns over proposed SPS regulation? If reviews motivate countries to improve their policy-making processes, this will contribute to making SPS regulation less trade restrictive and more effective in protecting health. To reach this objective, special trade policy reviews dedicated exclusively to SPS regulation would have to be introduced as a complement to the current reviews of countries’ overall trade policies. Such a move could serve as a model for establishing further issue-specific reviews that address technical barriers to trade, trade in services, and other complex regulatory challenges.

Suggested Citation

  • Zahrnt, Valentin, 2009. "Transparency of Complex Regulation: How Should WTO Trade Policy Reviews Deal with Sanitary and Phytosanitary Policies?," ECIPE Working Papers 50365, European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ecipwp:50365

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item


    SPS; food safety; transparency; TPRM; Agricultural and Food Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; International Relations/Trade; Political Economy;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:ecipwp:50365. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.