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Factors underlying sanitary and phytosanitary regulation for food and agricultural imports notified by WTO members

Sofía Boza and Jazmín Muñoz

The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, 2017, vol. 26, issue 6, 712-723

Abstract: The impact of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures has been extensively studied in the trade literature. However, there is very scant research on the factors underlying the World Trade Organization (WTO) members’ regulatory process. The aim of this paper is to fill that gap, examining the main determinants for the development of SPS regulation considering the notifications presented by WTO members. A negative binomial regression was estimated, where the dependent variable was the number of SPS measures notified during the period 1995–2012 by WTO members, while the explanatory variables were related to each country: (1) agricultural production value; (2) agricultural imports weight; (3) health concerns; (4) agricultural import tariffs; and (5) scientific and legal capacities. The results provide evidence that legal and scientific capacities are major factors in the number of notifications presented by WTO members. On the other hand, those countries with a higher relative weight of the agricultural sector in the economy or of agricultural products in their imports have notified fewer SPS measures. This leads to the conclusion that it is necessary to reinforce actions that strengthen institutional and technical capacities for further convergence.

Date: 2017
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