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WTO Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Measures

Post-event Statement

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), in cooperation with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), sponsored and organized a workshop in Tokyo, Japan, on World Trade Organization (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). Officials of from different ADB developing member countries, who are also members to WTO, participated in this workshop to discuss the dynamics of international food safety regulations, especially in relation to the WTO SPS and TBT agreements and related agreements and international standards. The coordinator of the Workshop was Teruo Ujiie, Senior Capacity Building Specialist, Capacity Building and Training Department, ADBI.

The main thrust of the workshop was to foster better understanding and collaboration on WTO SPS and TBT agreements as the framework for food safety regulations and for expansion of trade in agricultural products with special emphasis on food standard setting, which is currently being implemented in the participating countries. The workshop was also directed towards greater understanding of the agriculture and food-related issues and standards, to address the challenges and difficulties experienced by many countries in Asia and the Pacific region, particularly on food safety regulation and its impact on trade.

The workshop was divided into 6 sessions: International Framework for Food Safety System; SPS Related Topics (I); SPS Related Topics (II); Food Safety Compliance and Roundtable Discussions; Sharing Experiences in SPS Measures; and Japan's Contribution to SPS Area and Evaluation/Next Steps, with experts sharing their knowledge and expertise on the subject under consideration. During each session, participants were able to obtain additional information specifically on the international frameworks for food safety, including Codex, SPS requirements on farming, issues on traceability, and the main activities of the WTO and food standards. Roundtable discussions where also held, discussing the impact of private food safety standards on global trade with food and agricultural products including the sharing of experiences in SPS measures by the People's Republic of China, Japan, and Viet Nam. Read the full executive summary.

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To discuss trade in agricultural products in the Asian region, its impacts and the role of the WTO Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) Agreement, to share experiences in SPS measures to further facilitate cross-border trade, and to enhance regional cooperation in this field.

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Many ADB developing member countries (DMCs) depend on outputs from the agricultural sector for growth, and at the same time their export earnings come from agricultural products. However, most agricultural exports are subject to rigid sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards and certification procedures imposed by importing countries. In order to expand international trade in agricultural products by minimizing non-tariff barriers, the Uruguay Round established an Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. Recently, “food safety” issues have been highlighted, which is one area of SPS measures. Since the establishment of an international standard is formulated by different international organizations and the requirements and certification procedures are complex, this technical workshop is important for ministries in charge of agricultural trade in selected DMCs.

This workshop will address the following topics:

  • Significance of agricultural trade in the Asian region and non-tariff barriers
  • Key features of the WTO SPS and Technical Barrier to Trade Agreements
  • Main activities of the WTO SPS Committee
  • How international standards concerning animals and plants are formulated and the role of the governments in this process
  • Institutional arrangement to fulfill SPS requirements
  • Food quality and safety topics towards trade facilitation, such as food traceability system; food safety challenges in Asia; independent certification system for food quality and safety standard compliance; private food safety standards on global trade
  • Country experiences in PRC, Japan, Thailand, and Viet Nam

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  • Executive summary of proceedings
  • Recommendations for facilitating trade in agricultural products which are subject to SPS measures
  • Strengthened network among participants and resource speakers

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Senior agriculture officials from 14 DMCs, which are WTO members and main agricultural exporting DMCs—Bangladesh; Cambodia; People’s Republic of China; India; Indonesia; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Myanmar; Pakistan; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Taipei,China; Thailand; and Viet Nam

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  • Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAORAP)
  • Codex Alimentarius Commission (CODEX)
  • International Office of Epizootics (OIE)
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan

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© 2015 Asian Development Bank Institute.