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A race to the top? A case study of food safety standards and African exports

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  • Otsuki, Tsunehiro*Wilson,John S.*Sewadeh, Mirvat

Abstract

Growing concern over health risks associated with food products is at the forefront of trade policy debate. At the heart of this debate is the"precautionary principle,"which holds that precautions should be taken against health, safety, and environmental risks even when science has not established direct cause-and-effect relationships--as with, for example, the EUropean ban on hormone-treated beef. The authors quantify the impact on food exports from African countries of new EUropean Union standards for aflatoxins, structurally related toxic compounds that contaminate certain foods and lead to the production of acute liver carcinogens in the human body. The authors estimate the impact of changes in differing levels of such protection based on the EU standards (and suggested by international standards) for 15 EUropean countries and 9 African countries between 1989 and 1998. The results suggest that implementation of the EU's new aflatoxin standards will significantly hurt African exports to EUrope of nuts, cereals, and dried fruits, which are highly sensitive to the aflatoxin standards. The EU standards would reduce health risks by only about 1.4 deaths per billion a year but would cut African exports by 64 percent, or $670 million, compared with their level under international standards.

Suggested Citation

  • Otsuki, Tsunehiro*Wilson,John S.*Sewadeh, Mirvat, 2001. "A race to the top? A case study of food safety standards and African exports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2563, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2563
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Antle, John M., 1999. "Benefits and costs of food safety regulation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 605-623, December.
    2. Tsunehiro Otsuki & John S. Wilson, 2001. "What price precaution? European harmonisation of aflatoxin regulations and African groundnut exports," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 263-284, October.
    3. Pinstrup-Andersen, Per, 2000. "Food policy research for developing countries: emerging issues and unfinished business," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 125-141, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Calvin, Linda & Krissoff, Barry, 1998. "Technical Barriers To Trade: A Case Study Of Phytosanitary Barriers And U.S. - Japanese Apple Trade," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 23(02), December.
    6. Neal H. Hooker & Julie A. Caswell, 1999. "A Framework for Evaluating Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade Related to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Regulation," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 234-246.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Liao, Christine Marie & Pasadilla, Gloria O., 2007. "Market Access Limitations of the Philippines in the EU Market," Discussion Papers DP 2007-15, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    2. Prema-Chandra Athukorala & Sisira Jayasuriya, 2003. "Food Safety Issues, Trade and WTO Rules: A Developing Country Perspective," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(9), pages 1395-1416, September.
    3. Maurice Schiff, 2002. "Chile’s Trade Policy: an Assessment," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 151, Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Alasdair R. Young, 2001. "Trading Up or Trading Blows? US Politics and Transatlantic Trade in Genetically Modified Food," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 30, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    5. Narayanan, Sudha & Gulati, Ashok, 2002. "Globalization and the smallholders," MSSD discussion papers 50, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Jongwanich, Juthathip, 2009. "The impact of food safety standards on processed food exports from developing countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 447-457, October.
    7. Lionel Fontagné, 2003. "Market Access and Domestic Support Measures," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(3), pages 3-10, October.
    8. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813144415_0004 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Yuan Li & John C. Beghin, 2017. "A meta-analysis of estimates of the impact of technical barriers to trade," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Nontariff Measures and International Trade, chapter 4, pages 63-77 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Tiongco, Marites M. & Francisco, Kris A., 2011. "Philippines: Food Security versus Agricultural Exports?," Discussion Papers DP 2011-35, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    11. Anonymous, 2006. "Articles from Volume 2, Issue 1, 2006, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development," Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, vol. 2(1).
    12. Jongwanich, Juthathip, 2009. "Impact of Food Safety Standards on Processed Food Exports from Developing Countries," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 154, Asian Development Bank.

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    Keywords

    Free Trade; Food&Beverage Industry; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Economics&Finance; Economic Theory&Research;

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