World Trade Organization Agreement On The Application Of Sanitary And Phytosanitary Measures

October 16, 2021  |  Uncategorized  |  Share

While a number of developing countries have excellent food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary services, others do not. For them, the requirements of the SPS Convention pose a challenge to improving the health situation of their people, livestock and crops, which can be difficult for some to meet. As a result of these difficulties, the SPS Agreement postponed all requirements, with the exception of those relating to transparency (notification and establishment of en-information points) until 1997 for developing countries and until 2000 for least developed countries. This means that these countries are not required to provide a scientific justification of their sanitary or phytosanitary needs before that date. Countries that need longer deadlines, for example to improve their veterinary services or to implement specific obligations under the Agreement, may request the SPS Committee to grant them further deadlines. Who benefits from the implementation of the SPS Agreement? Is the agreement in the interests of developing countries? Members shall notify changes in their sanitary or phytosanitary measures and provide information on their sanitary or phytosanitary measures in accordance with Annex B. The agreement also includes a code of conduct for governments and non-governmental or industry organizations to develop, adopt and implement voluntary standards. The code, which is enforced by more than 200 standards bodies, states that the procedures used to decide whether a product complies with the relevant standards must be fair. The agreement also encourages countries to mutually recognise a product`s conformity assessment procedures. Without recognition, products may have to be tested twice, first by the exporting country and then by the importing country. Can national legislation on food safety and animal and plant health be challenged by other countries? Can private institutions bring trade disputes before the WTO? How are disputes resolved in the WTO? The SPS Agreement established a Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the “SPS Committee”) to provide a forum for consultation on measures relating to food safety or affecting trade in the field of animal and plant health and to ensure the implementation of the SPS Agreement. Like other WTO committees, the SPS Committee is open to all WTO Member States.

Governments that have observer status with the WTO`s senior bodies (such as the Council for Trade in Goods) may also be observers in the SPS Committee. The Committee agreed to invite representatives of several international intergovernmental organizations as observers, including Codex, OIE, IPPC, WHO, UNCTAD and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Governments may send officials they deem appropriate to attend SPS Committee meetings, and many send their food safety authorities or veterinary or phytosanitary officials. Some commentators argue that the WTO`s assumption that trade liberalization improves consumer welfare has left the SPS agreement ill-equipped to deal with trade restrictions imposed by governments that respond to consumer protectionist pressures. [19] This was most evident in the bovine hormone dispute, where European consumers, although science has highlighted the relative safety of the growth hormones in question, pressured governments to ban the import of hormone-treated beef. [20] TBT measures could cover any issue, from vehicle safety to energy-efficient appliances to the shape of food cartons. .