SPS Agreement

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  • The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, also known as the SPS Agreement, is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO at the beginning of 1995.
  • Broadly, the sanitary and phytosanitary (‘SPS’) measures covered by the agreement are those aimed at the protection of human, animal or plant life or health from certain risks.
  • Under the SPS agreement, the WTO sets constraints on member-states’ policies relating to food safety (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling) as well as animal and plant health (phytosanitation) with respect to imported pests and diseases.
  • There are 3 standards organizations who set standards that WTO members should base their SPS methodologies on.
  • As provided for in Article 3, they are the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Secreatariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
  • The SPS agreement is closely linked to the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which was signed in the same year and has similar goals.
  • The TBT Emerged from the Tokyo Round of WTO negotiations and was negotiated with the aim of ensuring non-discrimination in the adoption and implementation of technical regulations and standards.