Analysis of risk mitigation measures in agricultural trade

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Title: Analysis of risk mitigation measures in agricultural trade
Authors: Pearson, Lee Michael
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: International trade has brought tremendous choice to consumers and expanded markets for producers. Cross-border exchange also brings import risks such as food contaminants and invasive species. Balancing legitimate concerns to protect health and the environment with avoiding protectionist use of risk-based measures is highly important to the integrity of the multilateral trading system. This research studies three aspects of the relation between domestic regulations and international trade. Firstly, this thesis provides evidence addressing an ongoing international policy debate. This thesis is the first to show that the 8,487 new risk-based regulations under the Sanitary Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement and 4,745 regulations under Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement notified from 1996-2010 are driven in part by loss of tariff protection and country-level environmental governance factors. Declining tariffs, however, do not make the implementation of “suspect” SPS (i.e. measures later subject to a trade concern) more likely. This suggests policymakers may be systematically choosing to work on products that have lost tariff protection, but not systemically putting in illegitimate, non-tariff barriers to compensate. Secondly, this thesis investigates the patterns of Specific Trade Concerns (STCs) raised against 292 suspect SPS policies and 282 suspect TBT policies by members of the WTO from 1996-2010. It was found that developing countries struggle to resolve concerns they raise against developed economies. From work on 79 plant health concerns, it was clear that countries raise STCs using science-based and economics-based arguments of illegitimacy. Lastly, SPS measures are implemented to reduce risks transmitted via trade, but the effectiveness of risk reduction depends as well on actions of supply chain actors before export. A case study on coffee pests and diseases from a survey of 119 growers and 89 traders in Uganda is presented to scrutinize the decision-making process of growers in a high pest/disease prevalence environment.
Content Version: Open Access
Issue Date: Sep-2014
Date Awarded: Jan-2015
Supervisor: Mumford, John
Kountouris, Ioannis
Sponsor/Funder: Great Britain. Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission
United States. Environmental Protection Agency
Department: Centre for Environmental Policy
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy PhD theses

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