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Global Food Governance

Implications of Food Safety and Quality Standards in International Trade Law


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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1. Global Food Governance


1.1 Exploring the Concept of Global Governance The concept of governance was first identified in and limited to the field of economics, where it rapidly gained relevance.9 In the past two decades, however, this term has passed its own conceptual boundaries10 to become a widely-used term in describing the conduct of world affairs across dif- ferent disciplines.11 It has also been defined as a technocratic process that follows the efficiency dogma,12 as the process of running a government and other public and private agencies with a social purpose,13 as a term 9 See inter alia: OECD, Corporate Governance: Improving Competitiveness and Ac- cess to Capital in Global Markets, OECD, Paris 1998; Donald Chew, Studies in International Corporate Finance and Governance Systems – A Comparison of the US, Japan and Europe, Oxford University Press 1997; Oliver Williamson, ‘The Economics of Governance: Framework and Implications’ (1984) 140 Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft, pp. 195–223; Morten Boas, ‘Governance as Multilateral Bank policy: The Cases of the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank’ (1998) 10 (2) European Journal of Development Re- search, pp. 117–134. 10 On the origins of the term ‘Global Governance’ see generally: James Rosenau, ‘Governance, Order, and Change in World Politics’ in: James Rosenau/Ernst- Otto Czempoiel (eds), Governance without Government: Order and Change in World Politics, Cambridge University Press 1992, pp. 1–29; Jan Kooiman, ‘Find- ings, Recommendations and Speculations’ in: Jan Kooiman (ed), Modern Govern- ance: New Government-Society Interactions, Sage 1993, pp....

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