BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
Bern Open Repository and Information System

International trade in food after a nuclear accident

Ishikawa, Yoshimichi (2020). International trade in food after a nuclear accident. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

20ishikawa_y.pdf - Thesis
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Once radionuclides released as a result of a nuclear accident are deposited on the ground, agricultural products produced around the plant are at risk of containing radioactive materials for a prolonged period of time. And the ingestion of such foods may cause adverse effects on the human body (i.e., carcinogenicity). Immediately after the Fukushima accident that occurred in 11 March 2011 in Japan, a number of countries imposed import restrictions on Japanese food products due to their health concerns. As of today, more than nine years after the accident, some countries still maintain such restrictions. Given this reality, the question arises as to how trade restrictions imposed on food imports from the country where a nuclear accident occurred should be disciplined at an international level. After the Chernobyl accident in April 1986, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) adopted Guideline Levels for radionuclides in food to be traded internationally following a nuclear accident. It was a historic event in which countries reached an international agreement on this issue for the first time. However, they are designed to give importing countries excessively broad discretion over whether to allow food imports from a country where a nuclear accident occurred. With the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, Members need to take import restrictions after a nuclear accident in accordance with the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement). Especially, it requires Members to base such restrictions on a risk assessment. However, when substances that are both genotoxic and carcinogenic are contained in food as contaminants (e.g., radionuclides), the scientific basis for import restrictions addressing their health risks may be loosely disciplined under the traditional interpretation of the SPS Agreement. As a result, in such cases, the only issue tends to be whether such import restrictions are reasonable as a risk management measure. Thus, the SPS Agreement needs to be interpreted in a way that the scientific basis for such import restrictions can be effectively regulated. In addition, Codex also has a role to play towards more effective discipline of international trade in food after a nuclear accident. Instead of giving overly broad discretion to importing countries, it should rather attempt, through negotiations among Codex members, to make new rules to be followed regarding import restrictions after a nuclear accident. Once this can be achieved, WTO Members will be also required to base their import restrictions on such new rules.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Single
Date of Defense: 21 August 2020
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 380 Commerce, communications & transportation
Institute / Center: 02 Faculty of Law > Department of Economic Law > World Trade Institute
10 Strategic Research Centers > World Trade Institute
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2022 11:20
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2022 11:24

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