Regulatory Divergence and Convergence in the Age of Megaregionals
Edited by Shin-yi Peng, Han-Wei Liu and Ching-Fu Lin
Chapter 10: Food and product safety issues in the TPP
Free trade negotiations oftentimes raise concerns over food and product safety. The issue arises as to whether a new agreement involves provisions that require parties to adopt laxer criteria in their national laws, standards, or labelling requirements related to food and product safety. For instance, in Japan, consumers were concerned that Japan’s food additive regulation or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) labelling requirements might be changed in response to the US demands during the TPP negotiations. Such consumers’ concerns were also a sensitive issue for the government of Japan before the negotiations and after the conclusion. This chapter analyzes the TPP provisions relating to food and product safety. Primarily, the TPP’s Chapters on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) are concerned with such topics. Previous Free Trade Agreements also contain TBT/SPS Chapters. Whether these Chapters include any WTO-plus provision has been examined by researchers. At the same time, the TPP Agreement includes specific product provisions, relating to products such as GMOs, used and remanufactured goods, motor vehicles, cosmetics, organic products, or food additives, in other parts of the Agreement (the Market Access Chapter, Chapter Annexes, or bilateral side-letters). These various product-specific provisions are a unique characteristic of the TPP Agreement, reflecting trade interests and concerns of exporting parties. This chapter also addresses these specific provisions, as well as the TBT/SPS Chapters, and analyzes how the provisions affect food and product safety of the TPP parties. The chapter concludes that the product-specific provisions, as well as the TBT/SPS Chapters, do not impact national safety standards substantively. Rather, these provisions encourage and promote cooperation, the exchange of information, and transparency of national measures.
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