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Counting the Costs of Compliance with Trade Requirements from a Value Chain Perspective: Evidence from Southern Africa

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This note uses a value chain perspective to show how the cost of complying with regional trade requirements affects agriculture competitiveness and rural incomes. On the one hand, phytosanitary rules, product standards, and certification procedures are important to protect human, animal, and plant health. These requirements also help to improve buyer and seller confidence in international markets and can be useful for trade facilitation. Equally, however, it is also clear that every inspection and certification procedure adds to the total cost of trade to the point where trade requirements can become a trade barrier if the policies are not well designed or are poorly implemented. The recent proliferation of mandatory standards for food staples in East Africa is a good example of this where regulators have introduced various product specifications that have little or no bearing on public health and mainly relate to milling outturn and private financial returns.


Keyser, John. 2012. Counting the costs of compliance with trade requirements from a value chain perspective : evidence from Southern Africa. Africa trade policy notes ; no. 32. Washington, DC ; World Bank.


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