The international food trade is being hampered by the “rapid increase in the use of non-tariff measures such as plant and animal health requirements and technical regulations” in richer developed countries, an OECD report has claimed. Its report Agricultural Policies in Emerging and Transition Economies 2001 says that these barriers are a key factor explaining why food exporters from poorer developing, emerging and transition economies have failed to increase their global market share since the WTO’s Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture came into force in 1995. The report calls for a greater opening of developed country markets and for technical assistance to be given to poor country governments, so they can better cope with the new regulations.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent