Understanding the costs of quarantine

Over the past two days I attend­ed and spoke at the Quar­an­tine and Mar­ket Access con­fer­ence orga­nized in Can­ber­ra by the Quar­an­tine and Export Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee to the Aus­tralian Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture.

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You can “download”:http://www.petergallagher.com.au/assets/QEACConfPWG_web.pdf a PDF ver­sion of my pre­sen­ta­tion (about 600kb) by click­ing the image. My argu­ment will be famil­iar to read­ers of this site: we sore­ly need to bring some eco­nom­ic judg­ments to our deci­sions on the imple­men­ta­tion of quar­an­tine bar­ri­ers. These are now the only non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers used in Aus­tralian goods trade and the only pol­i­cy bar­ri­ers that are imple­ment­ed with­out regard to the costs that they impose on our econ­o­my. Although our quar­an­tine bar­ri­ers prob­a­bly have sci­en­tif­ic mer­it and prob­a­bly offer sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits, at least to the affect­ed indus­try, they have the same eco­nom­ic impacts as oth­er trade bar­ri­ers. They raise costs in rur­al pro­duc­tion (an area of con­sid­er­able com­par­a­tive advan­tage for Aus­tralia) and tend to cut our over­all eco­nom­ic growth. A resp­son­si­ble deci­sion-mak­ing process on quar­an­tine would take these costs, as well as the ben­e­fits, into account.

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