Trade standards are the “rules of the game” for trade in international goods and services, essential for the maintenance and reproduction of consumer culture. The process of evolution of these trade standards has been long and torturous. T. N. Srinivasan, while discussing the historical development of the World Trade Organization (WTO), provides a succinct history of this process. In 1930, facing a recession and bowing down to the consequent domestic pressures for protection, the United States passed the Smoot-Hawley tariffs. As other countries retaliated, the average worldwide tariff rate rose to 25 percent by 1933 (Krugman and Obstfeld 2009, 230). These high tariffs and other trade restrictions led to a dramatic fall in world trade and decline in total world production, which contributed to the ...

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