Principles of Sps Agreement

The principles of the SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary) Agreement were established by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure international trade in food and agricultural products while protecting public health and the environment. The SPS Agreement governs the measures that countries may take to protect their citizens from the risks associated with the importation of food, plant and animal products.

The SPS Agreement recognizes that countries have the right to implement measures to protect their citizens from health risks associated with food and agricultural products. However, these measures must be based on scientific evidence and not be used as tools of protectionism. The following are the principles of the SPS Agreement:

1. Non-discrimination – WTO member countries must not discriminate between domestic and foreign products or between foreign products from different countries when implementing SPS measures.

2. Scientific justification – SPS measures must be based on scientific evidence and risk assessment. Countries must ensure that their measures do not unnecessarily restrict trade or create unnecessary obstacles to imports.

3. Transparency – SPS measures must be transparent, and countries must inform other WTO members of any changes to their SPS measures. Countries must also provide advance notice of any new or revised SPS measures.

4. Regionalization – Countries are encouraged to take regional approaches when implementing SPS measures. For example, measures applied to a country facing an outbreak of a certain disease may be restricted to that specific area and not applied to the entire country.

5. Equivalence – Countries must recognize that different SPS measures can achieve the same level of protection. They must allow imports from countries that have implemented equivalent measures to their own.

6. Technical assistance – Developed countries must provide technical assistance and support to developing countries concerning the implementation of SPS measures.

The principles of the SPS Agreement aim to ensure that SPS measures are applied in a way that does not unnecessarily restrict trade. They promote the use of science-based evidence to inform SPS measures, which can help to facilitate trade. They also provide guidance to countries on how to implement SPS measures in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner, and encourage countries to work together to achieve common goals.