Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Tariffs and the risk of invasive pest introductions in commodity imports: theory and empirical evidence.

Abstract

We investigate using tariffs as corrective taxes to reduce risks from biological invasions due to expanded world trade. A theoretical analysis indicates that higher tariffs have ambiguous effects on invasive pest introductions. An econometric analysis using data from US Department of Agriculture surveillance screening indicates that tariff rates exert a negligible influence on expected invasive pest introductions from commodities currently facing positive tariffs. Removal of duty free status would decrease expected pest intercepts but undermine other goals of US trade policy and lower consumer welfare. Consumer welfare loss is on the order of $38 million per expected intercept avoided.