Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS agreement) are international regulations designed to protect human, animal, and plant health from potential risks arising from the trade of agricultural products. The World Trade Organization (WTO) oversees the implementation of the agreement, which helps ensure that these measures are not used as disguised trade barriers.
Sanitary measures are those that relate to human and animal health and aim to prevent the spread of diseases and minimize risk to consumers. Examples of sanitary measures include proper storage, transportation, and handling of food products, as well as the use of proper labeling and packaging. Phytosanitary measures, on the other hand, relate to plant health and aim to prevent the spread of pests, diseases, and weeds.
The SPS agreement recognizes the importance of protecting human, animal, and plant health, while at the same time promoting international trade. It provides a framework for countries to establish their own SPS measures and provides guidelines for their implementation to ensure a level playing field for all trading partners.
The agreement requires countries to base their SPS measures on scientific evidence, and to avoid using these measures as a means of protectionism. This means that any SPS measure must be necessary and proportionate to the risk involved, and not more restrictive than required to achieve the intended goal.
The SPS agreement covers a wide range of agricultural products, including live animals and animal products, plant products, and food products. The agreement also covers the regulatory measures related to these products, including labeling, packaging, and certification.
One of the key benefits of the SPS agreement is that it provides a transparent and predictable regulatory environment for agricultural trade. This enables farmers, traders, and consumers to make informed decisions about the products they produce, sell, and consume, and helps to ensure that products are of high quality and safe for human consumption.
In conclusion, the SPS agreement plays a critical role in facilitating the global trade of agricultural products while ensuring that human, animal, and plant health is protected. As a result, it is essential that countries continue to uphold and implement the regulations established under the agreement, while also working together to address emerging challenges and threats to global agricultural trade.