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WTO SPS (sanitary and phyto-sanitary) Measures


Background

In the ADB region, a number of DMCs depend on outputs from the agricultural sector for growth, and in some cases their export earnings are substantially brought from agricultural products. However, almost all agricultural exports are subject to rigid sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards and certification procedures imposed by importing countries.

In order to expand and facilitate international trade in agricultural products by minimizing non-tariff barriers and burdens, Uruguay Round Multilateral Trade Negotiations established an Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (known as “SPS Agreement”). Recently, the issue of “food safety” is being highlighted, which is one area of the SPS measures. Since the establishment of an international standard is formulated by different competent international organizations and the requirements and certification procedures are complicated and complex, technical workshops are required to train senior officials working at ministries and/or agencies in charge of agricultural trade in selected DMCs having substantial agricultural exports.

Against this background, a pilot workshop was organized in December 2008. At the workshop, a general consensus was reached among participants that a follow-up workshop should be organized to further address key topics on WTO SPS Agreement and its related ones, such as current key issues of the agreement; current situation of international agricultural trade in the Asian region; case studies on SPS measures applied to actual trade; and WTO dispute settlement cases on agricultural products, in order to further facilitate cross-border agricultural trade. It is expected that FAO, its regional office being located at Bangkok, will make a similar contribution to this planned workshop as did last year.

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Objectives

To further acquire in depth knowledge and practical techniques on:

  • WTO SPS measures applicable to trade in agricultural products;
  • Application of international standards on plants, animals and processed products for actual trade (case studies); and
  • WTO dispute settlement procedures and their cases involving food safety.

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Outputs

  • 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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Participants

Mid to senior agriculture officials from ADB's developing member countries who are WTO members and main agricultural exporting countries such as Bangladesh; Cambodia; People's Republic of China; India; Indonesia; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Taipei,China; Thailand; and Viet Nam.

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Partners

Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAORAP), Bangkok
World Trade Organization
Department of Agriculture, Philippines
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand
Viet Nam Sanitary and Phytosanitary Notification Authority
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
ADB Thailand Resident Mission





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