This paper explores the competing concepts of 'standards as barriers' and standards as catalysts' in the context of food safety standards in international trade in agricultural and food products. It is suggested that food safety standards can act as both a barrier to trade and the basis of competitive positioning for developing countries in international markets. This suggests that the application of a strategic framework to analyze and assess alternative responses to evolving food safety standards can throw some light on the circumstances under which standards act to prohibit trade or, alternatively, create competitive trade opportunities. The use of such a framework is illustrated through a brief case study of fish and fishery product exports from Kenya and India.


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