We estimate the impact of regulatory heterogeneity on agri-food trade using a gravity analysis that relies on detailed data on non-tariff measures (NTMs) collected by the NTM-Impact project. The data cover a broad range of import requirements for agricultural and food products for the EU and nine of its major trade partners. We find that trade is significantly reduced when importing countries have stricter maximum residue limits (MRLs) for plant products than exporting countries. For most other measures, due to their qualitative nature, we were unable to infer whether the importer has stricter standards relative to the exporter, and we do not find a robust relationship between these measures and trade. Our findings suggest that, at least for some import standards, harmonising regulations will increase trade. We also conclude that tariff reductions remain an effective means to increase trade even when NTMs abound.
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