EPAs and SPS
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CTA. 2003. EPAs and SPS. Agritrade, June 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52434
The latest Trade Negotiations Insight from ECDPM/ODI and ICTSD carries an...
The latest Trade Negotiations Insight from ECDPM/ODI and ICTSD carries an article on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues and the EPA negotiations. The article reviews the international regulatory framework for food-safety standards. It notes that the WTO agreement does not set standards but guides WTO members in the setting of standards in a way that will least restrict international trade and provide clear indications to determine whether or not the measure is primarily a barrier to trade or primarily a measure to protect health. The basic rule is that WTO members are entitled to set the standard which they consider to be appropriate. If WTO members choose to use a standard different from pre-existing international standards they must justify this with reference to scientific data. Currently the SPS agreement is not an issue for negotiation in the Doha Development Agenda; however, the European Commission has proposed a re-examination of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. In the context of the EPA negotiations one area of discussion would be SPS Equivalency Agreements. Such agreements could greatly facilitate trade. The paper maintains that most EU SPS standards are based on international standards and are not challengeable. There are however a number of problems: for example the use of agro-chemicals which are authorised for use in tropical countries but may not be authorised for use in temperate markets. Another problem area is that EU member states still apply different minimum residue levels (MRLs). Compliance with these differing MRLs is, in fact, always a costly exercise for exporting countries and a clear burden on their ability to trade with the EU or with some of the EU member states. Problems also arise as a result of the EU's zero tolerance of certain minimum residue levels. Comment: The cost implications of compliance with EU SPS measures can not be underestimated. There is a need for dialogue with the EU on how the EU's genuine health concerns can be addressed without placing undue economic burdens on small ACP suppliers.