The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global organization that aims to promote free trade between nations. One of the key agreements under the WTO is the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement. The SPS Agreement was established in 1995 and provides guidelines for the use of food safety and animal and plant health measures in international trade.
The SPS Agreement sets out rules to ensure that countries do not use food safety and animal and plant health measures as a form of protectionism to restrict trade. It requires countries to base their measures on scientific evidence and risk assessments. This means that countries cannot simply ban the import of a product because it is different from their domestic practices or simply because they want to reduce competition.
The SPS Agreement covers a wide range of issues related to food safety, such as pesticides, food additives, and contaminants. It also covers animal and plant health issues, such as pests and diseases. The agreement requires countries to notify the WTO of any measures they plan to introduce that may affect trade and to provide scientific evidence to support their measures.
The SPS Agreement is an important tool for promoting international trade and ensuring that countries do not use food safety and animal and plant health measures as a form of protectionism. It helps to reduce barriers to trade and ensures that countries can import and export goods without barriers.
However, some critics argue that the SPS Agreement may be used as a way for developed countries to impose their own food safety and animal and plant health standards on developing countries. Developing countries may not have the resources to meet these standards, which could result in a loss of trade for these countries.
Overall, the SPS Agreement is an important part of the WTO`s efforts to promote free trade and reduce barriers to trade. It ensures that countries use food safety and animal and plant health measures based on scientific evidence and risk assessments, rather than using these measures as a form of protectionism. However, it is important to ensure that the SPS Agreement does not unfairly disadvantage developing countries.