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Smyth, S. and J. Falck-Zepeda. 2013. Socio-economic Considerations and International Trade Agreements. The Estey Centre Journal of International Law,  and Trade Policy. Volume 14, Number 1 2013/p. 18-38.


The provision for the inclusion of socio-economic considerations in domestic
regulatory frameworks pertaining to living modified organisms has been established by Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Many countries are considering, or have considered, inclusion of socioeconomic aspects in their domestic legislation, raising international
concern that socioeconomic risk assessments will become a mandatory part of approval processes and further complicate the approval, and international trade,
of new genetically modified crops. Barriers to international trade, unfortunately, enjoy a long and robust history. The objective of this article is to review the various international agreements that have a governance capacity pertaining to international trade and assess how these agreements might interpret the domestic implementation of socio-economic risk assessments. The result of this will be a clearer understanding of what cost and benefit tradeoffs will be required by countries that have included, or are planning to include, socio-economic considerations as part of their domestic regulatory framework.

Keywords: Biosafety, Genetically modified, International trade, Regulatory cost,