World Trade Organization Sanitary And Phytosanitary Agreement
In accordance with this agreement, members are fully responsible for meeting all of the commitments set out in this agreement. Members formulate and suspend positive measures and mechanisms to support compliance with the provisions of this agreement by entities other than the seats of central government. Members take appropriate measures at their disposal to ensure that non-governmental organizations located on their territory and regional entities to which the competent authorities on their territory are parties comply with the relevant provisions of this agreement. In addition, members do not take any action that directly or indirectly obliges these regional or non-governmental authorities or local authorities to act in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of this agreement. Members ensure that they rely on the services of non-governmental organizations to implement health or plant health measures only if they comply with the provisions of this agreement. Technical barriers to CTA trade covered by the WTO agreement on technical barriers to trade. References to the former GATT agreement of the same name are indicated by the TBT Agreement “1979” The GATT rules also included an exception (Article XX: b) which allowed countries to take measures “necessary for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health” as long as they are not undue discriminatory between countries where the same conditions prevail and are not of a cover-up. In other words, if necessary, in order to protect human, animal or plant health, governments could impose stricter requirements on imported products than they need for domestic products. 6. The Committee, on the initiative of one of the members, may, by appropriate means, ask the relevant international organisations or their subsidiary bodies to consider specific issues relating to a specific standard, directive or recommendation, including the basis of explanatory notes on non-use covered in paragraph 4. The GATT agreement allows WTO members to apply exemptions to the free movement of goods to protect human, animal or plant life or health, provided they do not use these exemptions as disguised protectionism. 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. This chapter deals with WTO rules on health and plant health measures, commonly referred to as “SPS measures.” In general, SPS measures are measures to protect human, animal or plant health against certain specified risks. As noted in Chapter 13, SPS measures are often put in place in the form of technical barriers to trade, but they are subject to other WTO rules. Negotiators of the WTO agreements felt that these measures deserved special attention for two reasons: first, because the maintenance of national regulatory autonomy has been and is considered particularly important in the bodies that question health risks; and second, because of the close link between SPS measures and agricultural trade, a sector that is notoriously difficult to liberalize.