The heterogeneous trade effects of environmental measures

13  June 2023    3:00 pm CEST

Fabio Santeramo, University of Foggia & European University Institute

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This presentation is based on a paper co-authored with Emilia Lamonaca and Charlotte Emlinger.

Technical regulations are numerous and growing, but less transparent than price measures. They are frequently used in support of the environmental protection, because of challenges posed by climate change, but little is known about the trade-effects of environmental measures. Relying on a unique and original dataset of technical measures notified for environmental reasons, we investigate their effects on trade patterns. We show that environmental measures naturally hinder bilateral trade flows, but tend to favour flows originating in trading partners with a strong economic and political influence, such as high income countries or members of the Group of 20 more industrialised countries, who tend to dominate the notification processes. This suggests that, while the objective of these measures is to improve environmental outcomes, they shape trade in favour of wealth and industrialised partners who have better financial and technical means to comply with requirements of technical measures.

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Fabio Santeramo is Associate Professor in Economics at the University of Foggia and MSCA Research Fellow at the European University Institute. Santeramo coordinates projects on the links between the Agri-food Sector, Trade and Environment. He is coordinating the MedECC Special Report on Climate-Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems nexus.  Currently serving in the Advisory Board of Food Policy, the leading journal in Agricultural Economics, Santeramo is Chair of the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium. His works focus on agricultural markets, trade, and policies, and have been published in top-field journals such as Journal of Agricultural Economics, European Review of Agricultural Economics, Energy Policy, Health Policy.

Related literature:

  • Borchert, I., Conconi, P., Di Ubaldo, M., & Herghelegiu, C. (2021). The pursuit of non-trade policy objectives in EU trade policy. World Trade Review, 20(5), 623-647.
  • Essaji, A. (2008). Technical regulations and specialization in international trade. Journal of International Economics, 76(2), 166-176.
  • Fontagné, L., Von Kirchbach, F., & Mimouni, M. (2005). An Assessment of Environmentally‐related Non‐tariff Measures. World Economy, 28(10), 1417-1439.
  • Ghodsi, M., & Stehrer, R. (2022). Trade policy and global value chains: tariffs versus non-tariff measures. Review of World Economics, 158(3), 887-916.
  • Santeramo, F. G., & Lamonaca, E. (2022). On the trade effects of bilateral SPS measures in developed and developing countries. The World Economy


Keywords: Environment; International trade; TBT

JEL classification: F13, F18, O24

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