A thicket of costly red tape, opaque administrative processes and arbitrary food-trade rules pose a risk to the lasting food security of the three billion people in the APEC region, a new study commissioned by the APEC Business Advisory Council suggests.
The council commissioned the report, entitled ‘Non-Tariff Barriers in Agriculture and Food Trade in APEC: Business Perspectives on Impacts and Solutions,' from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. It draws on interviews with over four hundred business people, experts and officials from around the region.
“Food trade is a critical part of the food security equation. It helps to match up supplies of safe, nutritious and affordable food with demand from around the region. But this study shows that non-tariff barriers and other forms of protectionism mean that food trade is more difficult and expensive than it should be,” Raffo added.
Over half the businesses interviewed considered that the trading environment for food and agriculture products remains highly restrictive.
The report stressed the need for a concerted and sustained effort across many fronts to address non-tariff barriers.
“This study suggests that what’s needed is greater transparency, clearer timeframes and better processes for food trade before, at and behind borders. Measures should be designed to avoid impeding trade. Greater harmonization or mutual recognition of standards for labelling and food safety would help. Digital channels hold a lot of promise, too,” Raffo added.
A copy of the USC Marshall School report can be found at: https://www2.abaconline.org/content/download/22613384
The APEC Business Advisory Council was created by APEC Leaders in 1995 to be the primary voice of business in APEC. Each economy has three members who are appointed by their respective Leaders. They meet four times a year in preparation for the presentation of their recommendations to the Leaders in a dialogue that is a key event in the annual Leaders Meeting.
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