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Environmental and Health Protections, or New Protectionism? Determinants of SPS Notifications by WTO Members

Author

Listed:
  • Emma Aisbett
  • Lee M. Pearson

Abstract

The drastic reductions in bound tariffs agreed by WTO members over the past half century have been accompanied by a substantial rise in non-tariff barriers to trade. Many commentators have drawn a causal link between these two phenomena, but there have been few attempts to empirically test this claim. This lack is particularly apparent with regard to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, despite their increasing prevalence both in the media and in WTO disputes. SPS measures, like other health and environment regulations, ostensibly serve legitimate national policy objectives and cannot be labeled as “green” protectionism merely by considering posterior trade impacts. The determinants of these regulations matter. This paper uses members’ SPS notifications to the WTO at the product level to test the importance of negotiated tariff reductions as a driver for additional SPS regulations. By exploiting time-series, cross-country and cross-product variation in the data we confirm that decreases in bound tariff rates increase the probability of new SPS measures. The policy implications of this result are, however, tempered by our other major finding, namely, that the impact of tariff constraint on SPS notifications is minor compared to that of demographic, governance and environmental variables

Suggested Citation

  • Emma Aisbett & Lee M. Pearson, 2012. "Environmental and Health Protections, or New Protectionism? Determinants of SPS Notifications by WTO Members," Crawford School Research Papers 1213, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:crwfrp:1213
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    File URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2196193
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:nbp:nbpbik:v:48:y:2017:i:1:p:45-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mahdi Ghodsi & Julia Grübler & Oliver Reiter & Robert Stehrer, 2017. "The Evolution of Non-Tariff Measures and their Diverse Effects on Trade," wiiw Research Reports 419, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    3. Mohammad Mahdi Ghodsi & Jan J. Michałek, 2014. "Technical Barriers to Trade Notifications and Dispute Settlement of the WTO," Working Papers 2014-22, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    4. Zhaohui Niu & Chang Liu & Saileshsingh Gunessee & Chris Milner, 2017. "Non-Tariff and Overall Protection: Evidence from Across Countries and Over Time," Discussion Papers 2017-08, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    5. M. Mahdi Ghodsi, 2013. "Welfare Analysis of a Prohibitive NTM in a Society with a Proportion of Concerned Consumers," Working Papers 2013-12, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    6. Lili Yan ING & Olivier CADOT, 2017. "Remaking Ad valorem equivalents of non-tariff measures in ASEAN," Working Papers DP-2017-09, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
    7. Olivier CADOT & Lili Yan ING, 2017. "Ad-valorem equivalents of NTMs in ASEAN," Working Papers P203, FERDI.
    8. Boza, Sofía, 2016. "Determinants of SPS notification submissions for Latin American WTO members," Papers 970, World Trade Institute.
    9. Beverelli, Cosimo & Boffa, Mauro & Keck, Alexander, 2014. "Trade policy substitution: Theory and evidence from Specific Trade Concerns," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2014-18, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    10. Eyal Ronen, 2017. "Tariffs and non-tariff measures: substitutes or complements. A cross-country analysis," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 48(1), pages 45-72.
    11. Mahdi Ghodsi & Jan Jakub Michalek, 2016. "Technical Barriers To Trade Notifications And Dispute Settlement Within The Wto," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 11(2), pages 219-249, June.
    12. Olivier CADOT & Lili Yan ING, 2017. "Ad-valorem equivalents of NTMs in ASEAN," Working Papers P203, FERDI.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Economy trade; Non-tariff Barriers; Standards; WTO; SPS;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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