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Quantifying the impact of technical barriers to trade : a framework for analysis

  • Maskus, Keith E.
  • Wilson, John S.
  • Tsunehiro Otsuki

There has been increasing use of technical regulations as instruments of commercial policy in the context of multilateral, regional, and global trade. These nontariff barriers are of special concern to developing countries, which may bear additional costs in meeting mandatory standards. Many industrial and developing countries express frustration with regulations that vary across their export markets, require duplicative conformity procedures, and are continually revised to exclude imports. The authors provide a comprehensive overview of the policy debate and methodological issues surrounding product standards and technical barriers to trade. They begin with a review of the policy context driving demand for empirical analysis of standards in trade, then provide an analytical overview of the role of standards and their relationship to trade. They then review methodological approaches that have been used to analyze standards and theirimpact on trade. Their main interest lies in advancing techniques that are practical and may be fruitfully extended to the empirical analysis of regulations and trade. They discuss concrete steps that could be taken to move forward a practical, policy-relevant program of empirical research. Such steps would include: a) administering firm-level surveys in developing countries; b) devising methods for assessing how much standards restrict trade; and c) establishing econometric approaches that could be applied to survey and microeconomic data, to improve understanding of the role of standards in exports.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2512.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2512
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  1. Casella, Alessandra, 1995. "Free Trade and Evolving Standards," CEPR Discussion Papers 1204, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Robert Scollay & John P. Gilbert, 2001. "New Regional Trading Arrangements in the Asia Pacific?," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa63, 03.
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  4. Kindleberger, Charles P, 1983. "Standards as Public, Collective and Private Goods," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 377-96.
  5. Philip L. Paarlberg & John G. Lee, 1998. "Import Restrictions in the Presence of a Health Risk: An Illustration Using FMD," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 175-183.
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  8. Finger, Michael J. & Schuler, Philip, 1999. "Implementation of Ururguay Round commitments : the development challenge," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2215, The World Bank.
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  13. Hertel, Thomas W. & Kym Anderson & Joseph Francois & Will Martin, 2002. "Agriculture and Non-Agricultural Liberalization in the Millennium Round," GTAP Working Papers 235, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  14. Ronald Fischer & Pablo Serra, 1998. "Standards and Protection," Documentos de Trabajo 45, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
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  16. Donna Roberts, 1999. "Analyzing technical trade barriers in agricultural markets: Challenges and priorities," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 335-354.
  17. Keith E. Maskus, 1993. "Intellectual property rights and the Uruguay Round," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 10-25.
  18. Perroni, C. & Wigle, R., 1997. "International Process Standards and North-South Trade," Working Papers 97-9, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics.
  19. Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 1997. "Measurement of Non-Tariff Barriers," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 179, OECD Publishing.
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