Given the diversity of climatic conditions, pests or existing diseases or food safety conditions, it is not always appropriate to impose the same requirements on food, animal or plant products in different countries in terms of plant hygiene and protection. As a result, sanitary and plant health measures sometimes vary depending on the country of origin of the food, animal or plant product concerned. This is taken into account in the SPS agreement. Governments should also recognize disease-free areas that may not conform to political boundaries and adapt their needs to the products of those regions. However, the agreement examines unjustified discrimination in the application of sanitary and plant health measures, whether for the benefit of domestic producers or foreign suppliers. Health and plant health measures can, by their very nature, lead to trade restrictions. All governments accept that certain trade restrictions may be necessary to ensure food security and the protection of animal and plant health. However, there is sometimes pressure on governments to go beyond what is necessary to protect health and to use health and plant health restrictions to protect local producers from economic competition. This pressure is expected to increase as the Uruguay Round agreements remove new trade barriers. A health or plant health restriction, which is not really necessary for health reasons, can be a very effective protectionist device and, because of its technical complexity, constitute a particularly misleading and difficult obstacle. 3.
This agreement does not infringe on members` rights under other international instruments, including the right to use good offices or dispute resolution mechanisms of other international organizations or that have been established under an international agreement. In the context of a dispute over SPS measures, the group may seek scientific advice, including by convening a group of technical experts. If the body concludes that a country is not meeting its obligations under a WTO agreement, it will generally recommend that the country bring its measure into line with its obligations. That might involve. B procedural changes in the way a measure is applied, an amendment or elimination of the measure, or simply the elimination of discriminatory elements. This introduction examines the text of the SPS agreement as contained in the final act of Uruguay`s round of multilateral trade negotiations, signed in Marrakech on 15 April 1994. This agreement and other agreements contained in the final act are part of the Treaty establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as amended (GATT 1994). The WTO has replaced GATT as the umbrella organization for international trade. The two agreements have a number of common elements, including fundamental non-discrimination obligations and similar requirements for prior notification of proposed measures and the creation of information offices (“Information Points”). However, many of the substantive rules are different. Thus, both agreements promote the application of international standards.
However, under the SPS agreement, the only justifications for non-application of these standards for food safety and protection of animal/vegetable health are scientific arguments arising from an assessment of potential health risks. On the other hand, under the OBT agreement, governments may decide that international standards are not appropriate for other reasons, including fundamental technological problems or geographical factors. Under the SPS agreement, the WTO sets limits on Member States` policy on food security (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling) and animal and plant health (phyto-hygiene) with regard to pests and imported diseases.