Protecting national borders against biological invasions is becoming increasingly difficult because those whose actions result in invasions seldom bear legal responsibility for those actions. Invasion costs are often an externality (an unintended side effect) of international trade. Externalities are best dealt with by internalizing them; that is, by getting those who harm society to meet the cost. This is the 'polluter pays principle', which, under current trade rules, is difficult to implement. Tariffs could, however, be used to confront exporters with the costs of their actions, and the right to do this should be embedded in trade agreements. At the same time, international aid could be used to protect donor societies against the inability of some other countries to take appropriate biosecurity measures. The impact of invasions can thus be reduced by tackling their economic externalities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics