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2011 Spring - A private future for food and fibre quality

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FPJ0803 - Hobbs, JE - Public and private standards for food safety and quality - international trade implications

This article examines the implications for the international trade environment of public and private standards for food safety and food quality. Public (mandatory) standards are a response to a perceived market failure and include mandatory risk assessment procedures, restrictions on harmful products, and labelling requirements. Disparate public standards create challenges for international trading partners and are dealt with through the World Trade Organization (WTO) Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreements. Private standards for food safety and quality are becoming a prominent feature of international food markets and include proprietary, consensus and third-party standards. The WTO has no jurisdiction over private standards. Key questions include whether private standards divert or reduce trade or whether they can be trade enhancing, and under what conditions. The implications for the WTO are discussed, and future trade policy research needs pertaining to the coexistence of public and private standards for food safety and quality are identified.

Hobbs, Jill E, Public and private standards for food safety and quality: international trade implications, Farm Policy Journal, Vol. 8, Number 3, Spring 2011, A private future for food and fibre quality, Australian Farm Institute, pp. 5-15, ISSN: 1449-2210 (print), 1449-8812 (online).



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