Private Food Standards and the World Trade Organization: Some Legal Considerations

15 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2013  

Jan Wouters

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

Dylan Geraets

KU Leuven; KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies

Date Written: March 1, 2012

Abstract

Private standards have increasingly become a contentious issue in the multilateral trading system. The ever increasing number of sector-specific standards developed by businesses, in particular in the food market, may have significant implications for developing countries in terms of market access. Some countries see private food standards as a particular form of non-tariff barriers. The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with non-tariff barriers in the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and in the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). This paper examines to what extent these agreements cover private standards, as they were originally intended to regulate standard-setting by public authorities. We find that there is an important difference between the SPS Agreement and the TBT Agreement in that the drafters of the latter realized the importance of the private sector in standard-setting. Finally, we discuss whether a ‘Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards’, similar to that under the TBT Agreement, could be adopted under the SPS Agreement.

Keywords: Private Standards, Non-Tariff Barriers, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, World Trade Organization, International Law, Global Food Governance

Suggested Citation

Wouters, Jan and Geraets, Dylan, Private Food Standards and the World Trade Organization: Some Legal Considerations (March 1, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2274812 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2274812

Jan Wouters (Contact Author)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies ( email )

House De Dorlodot - Deberiotstraat 34
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.globalgovernancestudies.eu

Dylan Geraets

KU Leuven ( email )

Oude Markt 13
Bus 5005 3000
Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant B-3000
Belgium

KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies ( email )

Van Evenstraat 2B
Charles Deberiotstraat 34
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

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