Source: Compiled by crès from WTO information on trade disputes through agreements: 1) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and 2) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) on the WTO website (www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/dispu_agreements_index_e.htm?id=A19#selected_agreement; www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/dispu_agreements_index_e.htm?id=A22#selected_agreement). More detailed information on these disputes can be found on the WTO website by referring to the case numbers indicated in the tables. In the WTO, the countries of the European Union are called the European Communities. The text of NAFTA on TBT issues can be found in Chapter Nine (Related Standard Measures). The TBT provisions of the Agreement apply to measures relating to standards under the TBT Convention and all other international agreements, including environmental and conservation agreements, except those covered by SPS provisions. NAFTA affirms the right of each country “to adopt, maintain or apply measures related to standards, including measures relating to safety, protection of human, animal or plant life or health, the environment or consumers, as well as any measure to ensure their application or enforcement.” provided that such measures are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary barriers to trade (Article 904). NAFTA also established a Standards Measures Committee (Section 913). Others counter that current trade agreements explicitly recognize the right of individual nations, as well as states and municipalities, to adopt stronger protections than international guidelines when they deem it appropriate. The U.S. is uniquely positioned to face challenges because its health and safety policies are scientifically justifiable, U.S.
officials argued. Many believe that spS and TBT agreements form the basis for the development of transparent and science-based trade policies, as well as an effective framework for the settlement of disputes in these areas. Others argued that ongoing free trade agreements such as the TPP and TTIP should take a closer look at certain aspects of these agreements. The effectiveness and flexibility of sps and TBT rules continue to be tested by the rapid evolution of food production technologies, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, which did not raise immediate concerns at the time of the conclusion of the agreements in 1994. The transparency provisions of the SPS Convention are intended to ensure that measures to protect human, animal and plant health are made known to the interested public and trading partners. The agreement requires governments to publish all sanitary and phytosanitary regulations without delay and, at the request of another government, provide an explanation of the reasons for a particular food safety or animal or plant health requirement. 1 In this Agreement, the reference to Article XX, let. b, also includes the chapeau of this Article. (back to text) 2 For the purposes of Article 3, paragraph 3, a scientific justification shall be provided where, on the basis of a review and evaluation of the available scientific information in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Convention, a Member determines that the relevant international standards, guidelines or recommendations are not sufficient to achieve its adequate level of sanitary or phytosanitary protection. (back to text) 3 For the purposes of Article 5(6), a measure shall not be more trade-restrictive than necessary, unless there is another measure reasonably available, taking into account technical and economic feasibility, which achieves an adequate level of sanitary or phytosanitary protection and significantly reduces trade. (back to text) 4 For the purposes of these definitions, the term “animal” includes fish and wildlife; the plant includes forests and wild flora; Pests include weeds; and contaminants include pesticide and veterinary drug residues, as well as foreign substances. (return to text) 5 Sanitary and phytosanitary measures such as laws, regulations or ordinances of general application.
(back to text) 6. Where nationals are designated in this Agreement, in the case of a separate customs territory which is a member of the WTO, the term shall be defined as natural or legal persons domiciled or having a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in that customs territory. (back to text) 7 Control, inspection and approval procedures include, but are not limited to, sampling, testing and certification procedures. (back to text) Many EU members continue to advocate the application of the precautionary principle to a number of agricultural issues60, as well as in the United States. Agri-food groups expressed concern that “a meeting held by the European Parliament on 24 September was adopted by the European Parliament. The resolution adopted in April  on TTIP strongly expresses the EU`s intention to maintain the precautionary principle, which would undermine sound science and, ultimately, the agreement itself.” 61 Further background information on the application and application of the precautionary principle in international trade can be found in the “Application and application of the precautionary principle” section of this report. (h) where the specifications of a product are changed after its inspection and inspection in the light of the rules in force, the procedure applicable to the modified product shall be limited to what is necessary to determine whether there is sufficient confidence that the product will still comply with the applicable rules; and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)76 is responsible for improving animal health worldwide. The OIE is not part of the United Nations, but of a separate intergovernmental organization established in 1924 under an international agreement.77 The SPS Convention designated the OIE as the competent International Organisation for Animal Health Standardization and states: “In order to harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures on the broadest possible basis, Members shall support their phytosanitary measures based on international standards. Guidelines or recommendations. 78 (d) the accession to and participation of the Member or competent bodies in its territory in international and regional sanitary and phytosanitary organizations and systems and in bilateral and multilateral agreements and arrangements falling within the scope of this Convention, and the wording of such agreements and arrangements.
Other types of non-tariff measures recognized outside of SPS/TBT measures (which are therefore not covered in this report) include quantitative restrictions; non-tariff charges and related measures affecting imports; government participation in trade, restrictive practices and broader government policies; and customs procedures and administrative practices.8 These types of potential barriers to trade are addressed in other WTO agreements and/or processes. The SPS Agreement encourages governments to put in place national SPS measures in line with international standards, guidelines and recommendations. This process is often referred to as “harmonization.” The WTO itself does not and will not develop such standards. However, most WTO member governments (132 at the time of writing) are involved in the development of these standards in other international for a. .