Food standards and exports: evidence for China

Using a new database on standards in China, the authors estimate the impact of voluntary and mandatory standards–either harmonized to international norms or purely domestic–on Chinese food exports. The dataset covers seven Chinese products over the period 1992–2008. The authors find that standards have a positive effect on China’s export performance, as the benefits to standardization in terms of reducing potential information asymmetry and signalling enhance food safety, and quality in foreign markets seem to surpass compliance costs. The estimation results show that the positive effect of Chinese standards is larger when they are harmonized to international measures. The results suggest that there are clear benefits to China’s steps to base their domestic standards and regulations on international measures.

A copy of the report is available on the ResearchGate website.



Axel Mangelsdorf, BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Germany, and Technical University Berlin, Chair of Innovation Economics

Alberto Portugal-Perez ,World Bank

John S. Wilson, World Bank