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Wto Sps Agreement Wikipedia


Oct 21


Within the WTO, a Special Committee has been established as a forum for the exchange of information among member governments on all aspects related to the implementation of the SPS Agreement. The SPS Committee reviews compliance with the Agreement, examines issues with potential trade implications and maintains close cooperation with relevant technical organizations. In a trade dispute relating to a sanitary or phytosanitary measure, normal WTO dispute settlement procedures are applied and appropriate scientific expert advice may be sought. Under the SPS Agreement, the WTO imposes restrictions on Member States` food safety policies (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling) and animal and plant health (phytoremediation) policies with respect to imported pests and diseases. There are 3 standards organizations that set standards on which WTO members should base their SPS methods. According to Article 3, these are the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The WTO Secretariat prepared this text to promote public understanding of the SPS Agreement. It is not intended to allow a legal interpretation of the agreement. Although only one panel has been invited to examine sanitary or phytosanitary trade disputes in the 47 years of previous GATT dispute settlement procedures, ten complaints were formally filed in the first three years of the SPS Agreement concerning new commitments. This is not surprising since, for the first time, the agreement clarifies the basis for challenging sanitary or phytosanitary measures that restrict trade and may not be scientifically justified.

The challenges covered topics as diverse as inspection and quarantine procedures, animal diseases, consumption data, the use of veterinary drugs in animal husbandry and beverage disinfection treatments. Dispute resolution bodies were invited to review four of the complaints; the remaining complaints have been or are expected to be resolved following the mandatory bilateral consultation procedure. In the event of disputes over SPS measures, the Panel may request scientific advice, including by convening a technical expert panel. If the panel finds that a country is in non-compliance with its obligations under a WTO agreement, it generally recommends that the country align its measure with its obligations. This could include, for example, procedural changes in the way a measure is applied, a modification or complete abolition of the measure, or simply the elimination of discriminatory elements. .