Trade barriers or trade facilitators? The heterogeneous impact of food standards in international trade

Lead author: Hege Medin       Year: 2019       Methodology: Econometric analysis

ISO R&I Team Summary

This study presents a theoretical foundation to support the "dual face of standards", a term referencing the heterogeneous impact of standards on international trade. It also provides new empirical data on the impact of food standardization for Norwegian seafood export, with as main result that while food standards have an overall negative impact on seafood products export, it is cancelled out by counteracting positive effects when looking at fresh seafood. He concludes that a direct increase in demand, which stems from compliance, and improved competitive advantage are two possible explanations to justify the positive relationship between food standards and trade.

Publication Abstract

Recent research shows that food standards can be heterogeneous across sectors or countries: they sometimes act as barriers to trade, but in other cases may lead to increased trade. We present empirical evidence from Norwegian seafood export data showing that food standards, measured by SPS and TBT notifications, generally have a negative impact on total exports, the number of exporters and their average exports. However, for fresh seafood, the impact of SPSs is positive. We present a theoretical explanation for this, suggesting that food standards reduce consumer uncertainty about quality and safety and therefore increase demand.

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  • Publication type:

    • Journal article
  • Other authors:

    • Hege Medin
  • Countries:

    • Norway