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Global Food Governance

Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law

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Mariela Maidana-Eletti

With increasingly globalised markets, changing consumer preferences and the steady development of technologies influencing food trade flows, safety and quality concerns have triggered the development of new forms of global (food) governance. Since its creation in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has succeeded in providing a multilateral legal framework for the development of regulatory practices through its multiple agreements. Similarly, the continuing importance of regional and bilateral trade agreements, such as in the European Union and in Switzerland, has enhanced WTO’s accomplishments through a comprehensive and dynamic set of international rules and standards for trade. However, the changing trends in the production and distribution of food products have questioned the effectiveness of the regulatory status quo. This book addresses the legal aspects of the current global architecture for food governance, particularly with regard to the role of international standards. In doing so, this work attempts at mapping the implications of domestic food measures in international trade law.

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Introduction

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1. Global Food Markets and Standards As globalised markets, changing consumer preferences and the steady development of new technologies influence food trade flows, safety and quality concerns have triggered the development of new forms of food governance. Likewise, the expanding global food market continues to increase the economic value of world food exports and imports, which already reached US 1,375 billion in 2012 alone.1 While the European Union tops the list of leading food markets with US 522 billion dollars in exports, the United States follows in the second place with US 138 billion dollars.2 Switzerland remains an important market player with an increase of over 300% in food exports since 2000, accounting for a total value of US 8,414 million dollars in 2012.3 The tendency in global food trade is set to increase, albeit slightly more slowly, in the coming years.4 As a result of these market fluctuations, recent decades have seen sig- nificant changes in the legal architecture governing trade in food. Since its creation in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has succeeded in providing a multilateral framework for the development of new regula- tory practices through its multiple agreements between WTO Members. Similarly, the continuing importance of regional and bilateral trade agree- ments has enhanced these accomplishments, proving a comprehensive and dynamic set of international rules and standards for trade in food- stuffs. However, the changing trends in the production and distribution 1 World Trade Organization, International Trade Statistics 2013, (last visited:...

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