Given the absence of progress toward a multilateral agreement on trade liberalization in the WTO's Doha Round, countries are attempting to gain the perceived gains from trade through the negotiation of preferential trade agreements. One of the most ambitious attempts to negotiate a preferential agreement is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) which encompasses 12 countries across the Pacific including both the US and Japan. The TPP members account for approximately 40% of global GDP. One of the most difficult issues in current international trade policy is the regulation of trade in the products of modern agricultural biotechnology. This question was on the negotiating agenda of the TPP. The objective of this paper is to lay out the major issues in the trade of products of modern agricultural biotechnology and examines the regulatory regimes for biotechnology in the 12 TPP countries. It finds that there is a significant divergence in the approaches to regulating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) across the TPP countries. As a result, the development of a harmonized regulatory regime to govern trade in GMOs was impossible directly in the TPP. A forum where the development of a harmonized system could potentially be undertaken was, however, agreed in the TPP.

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Keywords biotechnology, coexistence, regulation, trade policy, Trans-Pacific Partnership
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Journal Journal of Agricultural and Food Industrial Organization
Viju, C, Kerr, W.A. (William A), & Smyth, S. (Stuart). (2017). Approaches to set rules for trade in the products of agricultural biotechnology. Is harmonization under trans-pacific partnership possible?. Journal of Agricultural and Food Industrial Organization, 15(1). doi:10.1515/jafio-2016-0016