Wto Sps Agreement Summary
Who benefits from the implementation of the SPS agreement? Is the agreement in the interest of developing countries? The two agreements have a number of common elements, including fundamental non-discrimination obligations and similar requirements for prior notification of proposed measures and the creation of information offices (“Information Points”). However, many of the substantive rules are different. Thus, both agreements promote the application of international standards. However, under the SPS agreement, the only justifications for non-application of these standards for food safety and protection of animal/vegetable health are scientific arguments arising from an assessment of potential health risks. On the other hand, under the OBT agreement, governments may decide that international standards are not appropriate for other reasons, including fundamental technological problems or geographical factors. During the Tokyo Multilateral Trade Negotiations Round (1974-1979), an agreement on technical barriers to trade was negotiated (the 1979 tBT agreement or “standardization code”) (see note 2). Although not originally designed to regulate sanitary and plant health measures, the agreement covered technical requirements arising from food safety and plant health and plant health measures, including pesticide residue limits, inspection requirements and labelling. Governments that were members of the 1979 OBT agreement agreed to apply relevant international standards (for example. B those developed by the Food Safety Code), unless they felt that these standards would not adequately protect health. They also agreed to inform other governments, through the GATT secretariat, of technical regulations that are not based on international standards. The 1979 TBT agreement contained provisions for the settlement of commercial disputes arising from the application of food security and other technical restrictions. The scope of the two agreements is different.
The SPS agreement includes all measures for protection: an agreement on how governments can implement measures relating to food security and plant health measures (health and plant health measures or SPS measures) sets the ground rules within the WTO. Specific plant health and protection requirements are most frequently applied on a bilateral basis between trading countries. Developing countries benefit from the SPS agreement, which provides an international framework for health and plant health arrangements between countries, regardless of their political and economic strength or technological capacity. In the absence of such an agreement, developing countries could be at a disadvantage if they challenge unjustified trade restrictions. In addition, governments must accept, under the SPS agreement, imported products that meet their safety requirements, whether they are the result of simple, less sophisticated methods or advanced technologies. Strengthening technical assistance to developing countries in the area of food security and animal and plant health, both bilateral and international, is also part of the SPS Convention.