Food safety issues, trade and WTO rules: a developing country perspective

Prema Chandra Athukorala, Sisira Jayasuriya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


The SPS Agreement and the related WTO dispute settlement mechanism are an important first step in strengthening the global trade architecture, bringing in greater transparency and orderly conditions to world food trade. However, implementation of the new trade rules has turned out to be a more complex task than the traditional market access issues handled by the WTO. Several factors, including inadequate financial and technical resources, have constrained devel‐oping countries from becoming effective participants in the implementation process, and there is widespread suspicion that SPS regulations are being used as hidden protectionist devices by developed countries. However, despite all the problems, some developing countries have been quite successful in penetrating developed country food markets; they have done so by accepting the consumer preferences and standards in quality‐sensitive high‐income markets and implementing domestic supply‐side measures. While making full use of available international assistance initiatives, developing countries should view the task of complying with SPS standards not just as a barrier but also as an opportunity to upgrade quality standards and market sophistication in the food export sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1416
Number of pages22
JournalWorld Economy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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