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The internationalisation of regulation: food safety regulation in China

Chu, May (2014) The internationalisation of regulation: food safety regulation in China. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The aim of the thesis is to examine the implications of the internationalisation of regulation in China as a developing country. To achieve this, variations in different Chinese food regulatory regimes are compared, ranging from those for domestic consumption to export. In particular, the three control components of a regulatory regime, namely standard-setting, information-gathering and behaviour-modification are analysed. This study finds a pattern of changes in the Chinese food regulatory regimes. At the initial stage, Chinese national food standards were less stringent than international standards, and the gap between established national standards and local enforcement was significantly high. In recent years, it is observed that Chinese national food standards have witnessed an upward movement to converge with international food standards. In the meantime, regulatory enforcement in the localities has undergone continual adjustment to strengthen enforcement force towards areas under public concern. This thesis aims to explain this trend of changes in terms of the internationalisation of regulation. It argues that while coercive international pressure is mainly exerted on the Chinese exported food regulatory regime, the domestic food regulatory regime in China has also been increasingly influenced by global forces over the past decade, in terms of policy transfer from developed countries and policy learning from the transnational professional networks. Regarding domestic food standard-setting, normative influence from the international community has induced a generally higher level of Chinese national food standards. With respect to regulatory enforcement, while enforcement work has been constrained by the incapacity of regulators and the inextricably linked interests in the localities, these domestic factors are becoming less influential under the context of internationalisation of regulation. In particular, food safety crises prompt the Chinese government to push forward regulatory changes in spite of strong resistance in the localities. This has been attributed to the aim of the Chinese government to safeguard the reputation of products ‘Made in China’ under the context of internationalisation of regulation, and build up an international image that China is a committed and responsible trading partner and world leader.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 May Chu
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Lodge, Martin and Hutter, Bridget

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