The limits of regulatory convergence: globalization and GMO politics in the south

R. Falkner, A. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Is globalization promoting regulatory convergence in agricultural biotechnology policies in the South? This article examines the nature and limits of regulatory convergence in the field of agri-biotechnology and investigates the effects that international forces have on biotechnology and biosafety policies in developing countries. Based on detailed case studies of Mexico, China and South Africa this article shows that these three leading biotechnology countries in the South are exposed to powerful international influences but are responding to the regulatory challenges of genetically modified organisms (GMO) adoption in distinctive ways. The existing regulatory polarization between US and EU biotechnology approaches has not forced a convergence around either of these two international models. GMO policies in the South do not simply follow the binary logic of the US¿EU regulatory conflict. Instead, they integrate elements from both regulatory approaches and are steering a course that suggests substantial regulatory diversity in the South. The globalization of biotechnology thus goes hand in hand with regulatory diversity in the developing world. Furthermore, regulatory polarization between the EU and US has helped to open up political space in key developing countries
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-133
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • genetically-modified food
  • policy convergence
  • harmonization
  • governance
  • mexico
  • china
  • eu
  • us

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