trade. Intergovernmental institutions and international donor agencies have not yet recognized this or, if they have, their investments do not reflect it.
Recommendation 5-1: In the next 3 to 5 years, international and intergovernmental organizations should invest more in strengthening the capacity of regulatory systems in developing countries. The United States should work with interested countries to add it to the G20 agenda. Investments in international food and medical product safety should be a significant and explicitly tracked priority at development banks, regional economic communities, and public health institutions. International organizations should provide assistance to achieve meaningful participation of developing country representatives at international harmonization and standardization meetings.
One measure of this recommendation will be the extent to which the 2012 Group of 20 (G20) meeting in Mexico includes food and medical product safety on its agenda. The amount of discussion at the Mexico meeting and at subsequent G20 meetings will be a further measure. Actions from the G20 meeting and increased allocations to regulatory systems can also measure this recommendation. An increased attendance of scientists from developing countries at standard setting meetings and the development of programs that improve their participation would also be measures.
Putting this topic on the agenda at the 2012 G20 meeting can be accomplished in the next year. Increasing investments in building regulatory systems and tracking these investments could take longer; this should begin in the next 3 to 5 years and continue.
Advancing Safety Standards Through Trade
Safety standards serve many purposes. They protect health by reducing the likelihood of harmful products circulating in the market. They also facilitate trade: countries with disparate product safety regulations use common standards in the international market (Maertens and Swinnen, 2009). International or harmonized standards and certification regimes are useful to both exporters and importers. They lend predictability to regulatory decisions and protect against accusations of arbitrary barriers to trade. International standards also simplify the requirements for export to multiple markets. The committee commends the Global Food Safety Fund, supported by Waters Corporation, Mars Inc., and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), for its pilot training program in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries. This program draws on funding and expertise from government and the private sector to establish training programs and improve testing in developing countries (Goetz, 2011).