Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement
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Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement

New and Emerging Issues in International Agricultural Trade Law

Edited by Joseph A. McMahon and Melaku Geboye Desta

Agriculture has been the unruly horse of the GATT/WTO system for a long time and efforts to halter it are still ongoing. This Research Handbook focuses on aspects of agricultural production and trade policy that are recognized for their importance but are often kept out of the limelight, such as the implication of national and international agricultural production and trade policies on national food security, global climate change, and biotechnology. It provides a summary of the state of the WTO agriculture negotiations as well as the relevant jurisprudence, but also, and uniquely, it focuses on the new and emerging issues of agricultural trade law and policy that are rarely addressed in the existing literature.
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Chapter 7: Addressing the Solution of SPS and TBT Matters through Trade Negotiations

Eugenia Laurenza and Ignacio Carreño


Eugenia Laurenza and Ignacio Carren˜o I. INTRODUCTION International trade in agricultural products is increasingly being affected by the adoption and maintenance of regulations, standards and requirements intended to ensure that food which is imported, manufactured and consumed is safe; aimed at protecting the health and life of animals and plants; and directed at the pursuit of important policy objectives such as, inter alia, human health or safety, animal or plant life or health, and the environment. Although the objectives that these measures intend to pursue are, in principle, legitimate, measures of this kind may result in barriers to trade to the extent that: (i) they discriminate against imports; and (ii) there are concrete difficulties associated with complying with such standards. These difficulties may be increased by the differences in the way in which each importing country implements the legitimate objectives, and this may significantly impair the ability of exporters to gain access to third country markets. Within the WTO framework, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and, to a greater extent, the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) attempt to regulate the trade-related aspects of such measures. This legal framework rests, inter alia, on the following pillars: the nondiscrimination and the least-trade restrictive measure principles; harmonisation of international standards; and transparency. The TBT Agreement, which covers technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures, requires that technical...

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