Quantifying the Impact of Technical Barriers to Trade

Can It Be Done?
Keith E. Maskus and John S. Wilson, Editors
A discussion of the increasingly contentious debates over national regulations of safety and health in the international trade system


This book provides an up-to-date discussion of economic issues involved in analyzing regulations of product quality and performance in international trade. Among the issues addressed in this collection are restrictions on genetically modified foods and pesticide use and compatibility standards for computers. While such regulations may serve important goals, they may also interfere with international trade flow by raising the costs of compliance. This is of special concern to developing countries, which have found it difficult to meet the increasingly exacting regulations imposed by the United States and Europe.

Keith E. Maskus and John S. Wilson gather prominent international trade specialists to ask whether the impacts of such regulations may be quantified systematically in order to inform the international policy debate. The essays included here cover all fronts of the debate over regulatory issues and trade conflicts. The discussion ranges from a a review of how trade conflicts emerge and how they are managed by the international trading system to a technical analysis of the potential impact of European restraints on trade in genetically modified products to an examination of methods for estimating the costs of compliance with environmental regulations. Considerable attention is paid to whether the emergence and enforcement of stronger standards among developed economies could result in diminished trade opportunities for developing countries. At the same time, the possibility that standards could expand market access through resolving consumer information problems is analyzed.

This book will appeal to international economists, international relations specialists, and individuals concerned about appropriate regulation of safety and health issues in the global economy.

Keith E. Maskus is Professor of Economics, University of Colorado, Boulder.

John S. Wilson is Lead Economist, Development Economics Research Group, The World Bank.

Praise / Awards

  • "Ask any European trade policy practitioner. Regulatory protectionism is near the top of his or her agenda. Here comes, at last, a cogent framework for quantifying its impact on trade and welfare."
    —André SAPIR, Professor of Economics, ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • "This is like reading next year's Wall Street Journal. The authors summarize what's already known about technical barriers and preview research that will soon reveal much more."
    —Gary Hufbauer, Institute for International Economics
  • "Where do product standards and regulations cross the line between consumer protection and disguised protectionism? This volume provides trade negotiators with new empirical evidence and analytical tools to strike the right balance in this sensitive area."
    —Richard Eglin, Director of Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 264pp.
  • 31 drawings, 21 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11247-0

Add to Cart
  • $89.95 U.S.