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This study investigates the question of whether, and to what extent, stringent EC process or production standards affect regulatory standards in the US and Canada through their effects on trade. Four highly controversial issues - animal trapping methods, beef growth hormones, genetically modified foods and food products, and protection of personal information in data transfers - are examined in detail. The author combines legal research (EC regulations and directives, WTO cases, national and international regulatory standards and exceptions, records of negotiation and arbitration, and other sources), political and economic analysis, and information and insights gained from 67 personal interviews with officials and representatives of several types of interest groups. The result is a forceful and convincing portrayal of how the major powers are dealing with this most fundamental and complex problem affecting international trade today.