Future Prospects for Technical Trade Barriers in Agriculture
The problem of harmonizing the technical barriers to trade is receiving a good deal of attention. The possibility of reducing the level of producer subsidy equivalents, through negotiation, in much the same way as tariffs are reduced, makes the concept attractive to trade negotiators. A distinction should be made between nontariff barriers which are meant to restrict trade and others which have a different purpose. Among the many objectives of the Uruguay Round of multilateral negotiations is that of “harmonizing the adverse effect that sanitary and phytosanitary regulations and barriers can have on trade in agriculture, taking into account the relevant international agreements.” More specific to the measurement of nontariff barriers in agriculture is the concept of producer subsidy equivalents and consumer subsidy equivalents. As of mid-1990, many revised and some new proposals had been tabled at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Negotiating Group on Agriculture.