Product Standards for Internationally Integrated Goods Markets

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Brookings Institution Press, Feb 1, 1995 - Political Science - 266 pages
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Product standards, regulations, and conformity assessment procedures are important and necessary, but they also, at times, threaten the free flow of goods in international markets and the competitive positions of many exporters, including those in the United States. The barriers to trade that may result form product standards and regulations may be inadvertent or deliberate. The problem cuts across a wide array of industries, from motor vehicles to computers to televisions to food and beverages.

This book, part of the Brookings Integrating National Economies series, is the first to blend careful economic and legal analysis of technical barriers. Alan O. Sykes illustrates how standards and regulations create trade barriers, explores the extent of the problem, and considers the possible policy responses.

The effects of technical barriers are hard to measure. They are often hidden in the costs of modifying a product to meet a standard or regulation, in the costs of testing and certification procedures, and in the ways that noncompliance with a standard may affect consumer purchasing decisions. Sykes identifies why heterogeneity in standards and regulations may arise across jurisdictions and assesses the desirability of eliminating it in various settings.

Sykes also presents an extensive and insightful overview of current international efforts to police technical barriers in the WTO/GATT system, in the European Union, in the U.S. federal system, and NAFTA. He shows how least-restrictive means principles and their corollaries can do much to reduce technical barriers, while stopping short of impinging on the legitimate exercise of national sovereignty.

Efforts to harmonize internatioal policies and set common standards and regulations have been under way for decades. Sykes evaluates the harmonization activities of institutions such as the International Organization for Standardization, the Codex Alimentarius, and the European Commission. Th

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Definitions
2
Scope of the Study
3
Chapter Summary
4
Overview of Principal Conclusions
5
Nature and Scope of the Problem
10
Standards
13
Health and Safety Regulations
16
Uruguay Round Agreements
77
Summary and Recapitulation for the GATT System
85
Technical Barriers and the European Union
86
Legislative Approach in Europe
87
Role of the Judiciary in Europe
96
Summary and Recapitulation for Europe
101
Note on the US Federal System
102
Note on the North American Free Trade Agreement
108

Other Consumer Protection Regulations
19
Labeling Regulations
21
Conformity Assessment Procedures
22
Conclusion
25
Some Economics of Product Standardization Regulation and Conformity Assessment
27
Government Intervention
40
Economic Issues in Conformity Assessment
51
Models for Avoiding and Policing Technical Barriers
57
Overview of International Standardization Organizations
58
Effectiveness of the International Organizations
60
Technical Barriers and the GATT System
63
Technical Barriers under the Original GATT Agreement
64
Legal Structure
70
Implications Adequacy of the Existing Approach and Prospects for the Future
110
Quality Labeling and Conformity Issues
117
LeastRestrictive Means and Related Principles
118
Decentralized Policing of Policy Goals and Objectives
128
Harmonization
130
Conformity Assessment
133
Note on Developing Countries
135
Comments
139
Jacques Pelkmans
154
Technical Barriers Agreements Concluded during the Uruguay Round
169
References
215
Index
225
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Alan O. Sykes is professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School.

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