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RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: WORKING PAPERS

SPS Measures and Trade: Implementation Matters

In an attempt to disentangle the impact of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures on trade patterns, we estimate a Heckman selection model on the HS4 disaggregated level of trade.

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Using SPS measures obtained from the SPS Information Management System of the WTO and controlling for zero trade flows, we find that SPS concerns reduce the probability of trade in agricultural and food products consistently. However, the amount of trade is positively affected by SPS measures conditional on market entry. This suggests that SPS measures constitute an effective market entry barrier. Additionally, we split SPS measures into requirements related to (i) conformity assessment, and (ii) product characteristics. Both types of measures are implemented by policy makers to achieve a desired level of health safety, yet, entail diverse trade costs. We find that conformity assessment measures hamper not only the likelihood to trade but also the amount of trade, while measures related to product characteristics do not affect the market entry decision, but have a strong positive impact on the trade volume. This suggests that trade outcomes crucially depend on the measure policy makers decide to implement.

No: ERSD-2012-05

Authors:

Pramila Crivelli — University of Geneva and Jasmin Gr÷schl — Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich

Manuscript date: February 2012

Key Words:

International Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Conformity Assessment, Heckman SelectionModel

JEL classification numbers:

C23, F14, Q17

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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of the author, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, nor the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the author. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

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