EXPLORING EU FOOD SAFETY NOTIFICATIONS ON AGRO-FOOD IMPORTS: ARE MEDITERRANEAN PARTNER COUNTRIES DISCRIMINATED?
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AbstractLimited capacity to comply with standards and controls has constrained the trade opportunities generated by bilateral agreements and preferences given to developing countries such as those belonging to the Mediterranean region. Specifically, in this paper we focus on the implementation of a specific type of Non-Tariff Measures that includes food safety concerns by the European Union. This is carried out through exploring some of the influencing factors on food standard enforcement in the EU, which is a major importer of agro-food products from developing countries. The issue at stake emerges on the possible rationale behind the border notifications on food imports -which can be the result of the management of specific risks- but beyond that by considering the reputation of the product or of the country of origin. We explore the hypothesis that the past border notifications affect current notifications, in other words, they affect current decisions on the implementation of food standards by the EU. Methodologically, notifications are extracted from those reported on the Rapid Alert System for Feed and Food (RASFF), and count data models are used to account for the over-dispersion existing in them. The results of the paper support the hypothesis that previous food notifications may slightly affect current notifications; nevertheless this effect seems to be less relevant for products of interest for Mediterranean Partner Countries. Hence, we cannot identify a pro or anti Mediterranean bias in the way that food safety controls are implemented at the EU borders.
Non-Tariff Measures, Mediterranean Partner Countries, SPS measures, agro-food trade, Agricultural and Food Policy, International Relations/Trade, Political Economy,