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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers 2 2 5 2 2 Dealing with product standards in in the WTO system It is is is not surprising that core WTO principles behind freeing trade in in in in in in in goods in in in in in in in a a a a a non-discriminatory way
minimising tariffs and and and non-tariff barriers and and and avoiding quantitative restrictions and and and subsidies should focus
on on products themselves on on their intrinsic character and properties This is is encapsulated in in in the the the idea of ‘like
products’ Under WTO case law four criteria are are are used to determine whether products products are are are “like” These are: (i)
the the the the the physical properties of of the the the the the products products (ii) the the the the the extent to which the the the the the products products are capable of of serving the the the the the same
or similar end-uses (iii) the the extent to which consumers perceive and treat the the products as alternative means
classification of the products for tariff purposes In the case that a a a a a a a a a product has been produced in a a a a a a a a a way
which risks undesirable health impacts for consumers it may be be claimed that this this product is is is unlike others not produced this this way
and restrictions can be be applied to to its import Such cases should be capable of resolution by appealing to to robust scientific evidence and this should be be be capable of being done in in in reasonable time The beef hormone and chlorinated chicken cases illustrate that this seemingly logical approach does not always work Protagonists are capable of dragging out the procedures over decades Externalities such as environmental side effects effects of of farm production systems and animal welfare effects effects of of livestock production systems will generally not show up in in measurable changes in in the the products themselves There are are two reasons for being concerned about about this First citizens may care a a a a a a a a a great deal about about such considerations and wish to discourage certain practices by avoiding products produced using them Second production under regulations which bans certain processes or or practices may be higher cost and therefore uncompetitive with imported produce not respecting such standards Can these considerations be built into trade trade and and trade trade agreements? The WTO says they can It is not simple however and and will always have to be considered one product and process at a a a a a a a a a time The next five paragraphs summarise the relevant technical
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of of performing particular particular functions in in in order to satisfy a a a a a a a a a a a a a particular particular want or or or or demand and and (iv) the international considerations involved based on on on WTO documents
. The Worshipful Company of Farmers WTO members are able to adopt trade-related measures aimed at at protecting the environment and public health subject to to certain specified conditions The measures taken to to achieve environmental protection goals may by by their very nature restrict trade and thereby impact on the the the the WTO rights of other members They may violate basic trade rules such as as the the non-discrimination obligation and the the prohibition of quantitative restrictions But it has been accepted through some key cases that exceptions
to to such rules can be be made to to achieve legitimate policy objectives such as protecting human animal or plant life and health 40
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Non-discrimination is is is the the foundation first Article of the the General Agreement on on on on on Tariffs and Trade it is is is also known as Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment It means
that under the the WTO agreements countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners If one country is is granted a a a a a a a a a a a special favour (such as as a a a a a a a a a a a lower customs duty rate for one of o their products) then the the the the same
treatment has to to to be offered to to to all other WTO members 41
The next two paragraphs are based on on on the WTO Rules and environmental policy an an introduction https://www wto org/english/tratop_e/envir_e/envt_rules_intro_e htm
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