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Uttar Pradesh Academy of Administration & Management


Workshop on WTO
July 8th 2010
Standards and Safety
• Article 20 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
allows governments to act on trade in order to protect human,
animal or plant life or health, provided they do not discriminate or
use this as disguised protectionism.
• In addition, there are two specific WTO agreements dealing with
food safety and animal and plant health and safety, and with
product standards in general.
• Both try to identify how to meet the need to apply standards and
at the same time avoid protectionism in disguise.
• These issues are becoming more important as tariff barriers fall —
some compare this to seabed rocks appearing when the tide goes
Food, Animal and Plant Products: How Safe is Safe?
• A separate agreement on food safety and animal and
plant health standards (the Sanitary and Phytosanitary
Measures Agreement or SPS) sets out the basic rules.
• It allows countries to set their own standards. But it also
says regulations must be based on science.
• They should be applied only to the extent necessary to
protect human, animal or plant life or health.
• They should not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate
between countries where identical or similar conditions
• Over US$ 600 billion agricultural products
• Over US$ 400 billion food trade per year
• About 500 million tons of food products
• About 75% is exported to and imported from
industrialized countries…
• More than 50% of fruits and vegetables, sugar,
non-alcoholic beverages, fish and fishery products
are imported from developing countries
Expanded International Trade

Results In movement of products that may pose health

risks LIKE
• BSE Disease since 1997 resulted in massive cattle
slaughter in the UK and severely affects European
exports of meat and cattle…
• Imports of live poultry and poultry products from
several Asian countries suspended due to severe
outbreaks of the highly contagious Avian
Agreement On The Application of Sanitary &
Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
• Came into force in 1995
• Negotiated in parallel with major
agricultural trade negotiations
• Applies to all measures used to protect
human, animal and plant life and health
which may directly or indirectly affect
Definition of an SPS measure
Human or animal life or health
• Risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins or
disease causing organisms in their food & beverage

Human life or health

•Diseases carried by Plant or animal

Animal or plant life or health

• Pest diseases or disease-causing organisms

A country
• Damage caused by the entry, establishment or
spread of pest
Spécifications of SPS
• “Animal” includes wild fauna and fish
• “Plants” include forest and wild flora
• “Parasites” include weeds
• “Contaminants” include pesticide residues,
veterinary drug residues and extraneous
Types of Measures
End product criteria

Process & production methods

Testing, sampling and inspection

Certification & approval procedures

Risk assessment methods

Quarantine treatments related to
Packaging & labeling requirements
Other Types of Measures
Not Covered by SPS Agreement but
may be TBT Measures

interests Animal
of the
other than welfare
Objectives of the SPS Agreement
• To protect and improve the current human health,
animal health and phytosanitary situation of all
1 Member countries

• To protect Members from arbitrary or unjustifiable

discrimination due to different sanitary and
2 phytosanitary standards

• To maintain the sovereign right of any Govt. to

provide an appropriate level of protection i.e. allow
countries to set their own standards for health and
3 safety
Rights & Obligations
• Members have the right to apply sanitary & phytosanitary
measures (Article 2.1) So Countries have right to take SPS
measures necessary for the protection of human, animal
or plant life or health
• Members shall ensure that any sanitary or phytosanitary
measure is applied only to the extent necessary for the
protection of human, animal & plant life or health (Article 2.2)
To be applied only to the extent necessary
• National Treatment
• Shall not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between
countries or act as disguised restriction on international
Key Features
Article 5
Transparency Harmonization
Article 7 Article 3

Article 4
Article 9
areas Article 6
Key Features….
• SPS measures to be based on scientific risk
• Countries should base their SPS measures on
international standards like Codex, OIE & IPPC
• Countries may have higher level of SPS measures but
shall be based on scientific risk assessment
• Transparency - all proposed, new and changed
measures are to be notified by members to the SPS
Committee of WTO Secretariat
Key Features…..
 assessment of risks to human, animal or plant life or
health, taking into account risk assessment techniques
developed by international organizations.
 available scientific evidences; process and production
methods; inspection & sampling methods; prevalence of
specified disease or pests; existence of pests/disease-free
areas, etc
 relevant economic factors & cost effectiveness of
alternate approaches
 Avoid arbitrary/unjustifiable distinctions in the levels in
different situations if these result in disguised restrictions
Key Features…..
 To take provisional measures in case of insufficient
scientific evidence
 Adaptation of SPS measures to regional conditions,
including pest- or disease- free areas, differing climatic
conditions & different pest or diseases or food safety
conditions so as to lead to the development/imposition of
different SPS requirements
 Members are required to notify all sanitary and
phytosanitary regulations which are adopted or proposed
to be adopted
 Notifications made in the event of non-existence of an
international standard or where substantially different
from it or where there is a significant effect on trade
Key Features…..
• ‘Enquiry Points’ to be notified by each Member to
disseminate information about existing and
proposed SPS regulations, control and inspection
procedures, quarantine treatment etc./ TBT
standards, technical regulations & CA
• Provision of ‘Emergency Notification’
• Take account special needs of developing countries
when developing SPS measures
Problems Faced by India in Implementing
the SPS Provisions
• Participation in international standardising bodies
• Non representativeness of international standards
• Plethora of standardising bodies at the national and sub-
national levels & lack of role clarity
• Absence of a national notification system
• A general lack of awareness
• Some aspects not very well developed – traceability, risk
assessment, R&D, residues, data
Difference Between SPS &TBT
• Regulation regarding fertilisers
SPS if relating to residues in food or animal feed (objective
protection of human/ animal health)
TBT if related to quality or efficacy of the product or health
risk to handlers
• Labelling requirements for foods
SPS if related to food safety
TBT if the regulation concerns issues such as; positioning,
letter size, nutrient content, grade, etc.
• Regulation regarding containers for the shipment of grains
SPS if relating to fumigation or other treatment of these containers, i.e.,
disinfection in order to prevent the spread of disease, whereas under
TBT if the regulation regards the size or structure of the containers
Nodal Ministry
• Ministry of Commerce (Trade Policy Division)
• Enquiry Points
SPS - Plant Protection Division (Deptt. of Agri. &
Coop.), Ministry Of Health, Ministry of Commerce
TBT - Bureau of Indian Standards

• TBT and SPS Portals (Centre for WTO Studies)TBT:-
• SPS:-
Main Government Agencies
• Directorate General of Health Services - PFA (1955)
• Export Inspection Council - Export Inspection & Quality
Control Act
• Bureau of Indian Standards - Food & Agriculture
• Department of Animal Husbandry & Directorate of Plant
Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, Dairying & Fisheries
• Ministry of Food Processing Industries - Food Products
Order 1955, Integrated Food Law
Relevant Legislations
• Directorate General of Health Services - PFA (1955)
• Export Inspection Council - Export Inspection & Quality
Control Act
• Bureau of Indian Standards - Food & Agriculture
• Department of Animal Husbandry & Directorate of Plant
Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, Dairying & Fisheries
• Ministry of Food Processing Industries - Food Products
Order 1955, Integrated Food Law
Relevant Legislations and Institutional Set-up
Ministry of • Insecticide Act
• Milk and Milk Product Control Order (MMPO)
Agriculture • Meat Food Product Order 1973

Ministry of Rural • Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI)

Development • Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act

Ministry of Food • Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954

Processing • Fruits & Vegetable Products (Control) Order –
FPO 1955 Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Ministry of • Export (Quality Control & Inspections) Act

Commerce 1963

Relevant Legislations and Institutional Set-up……

• Standards of Weights & Measures Act

Ministry of Civil
• Standards of Weights & Measures (Enforcement) Act
• Solvent Extracted Oils, De-oiled Meal and Edible Flour
Consumer Affairs Control Order, 1967
and Public
• Vegetable Products Control Order, 1976
• Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 1986

• Aquaculture Authority Notification 1997 & 2002

Ministry of
• Environment (Protection) Act 1986, Environment
Environment and (Protection) Third Amendment Rules, 2002
Forests • Coastal Regulation Zone – Notification 21 May 2002
• Aquaculture Authority - Notification
Life after WTO
• Increased Relevance of International Standards
• Need to harmonize – avoid duplication & multiplicity – ROLE
• Countries implementing strong import controls (USA, EC, Canada,
Australia, Japan etc)
• Conformance to Int/ importing country requirements
• Provision for recognition of export control & certification systems as
• Equivalence Agreements – MoUs/MRAs
 Legislative framework
 Infrastructural facilities - Labs, inspection/certification bodies
Problem Faced by India
• Peanuts,other nuts and milk- Level of aflatoxin presence
• Mangoes and Grapes- presence of certain flies
• Coffee- level of Ochratoxin
• Bone and Bone Products- non-grant of TSE free status
• Cereals and Cereal Products-presence of impurities
• Tobacco- level of DDT residue
• Pesticides residue problem in various products such as Egg
Products, grapes,gherkins, honey, meat and milk products
and tea and spices
Problem Faced by India
• Language barrier eg health certificates in Spanish- NTB
• Regulatory Measures eg milk products
• Voluntary Standards – ISO 9000/ ISO 14000 – restricts market access till
country upgrades, also cost of impln
• SA 8000 Social Accountability – deals with working conditions, better Q
of life, other socioeco issues – importing country limiting imports
• Rapid Alert System – No systematic approach- hundreds of consignments
– over 2 years
• Turtle extruder device
• CE Marking – Absence of designated CA Bodies in India – cost increasing
due to foreign certifn & testing
• No information on specification, methods of sampling, inspection & test-
chance to comment, familiarize (eg bacterial inhibitors, vibrio)
• New regulations implemented without sufficient notice period
Standard-setting bodies “The Three Sisters”

Food safety Animal health Plant health


Codex • Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission

OIE • Office International des Epizooties

IPPC • International Plant Protection Convention (FAO)

Economic Impact Of some SPS Measures
• Some developed importing countries fixing standard
without risk assessment – eg vibrio parahaemoliticus
• Inspite of repeated requests risk evaluation not
made available
• Some countries stressing on infrastructural
aspects eg milking machines, flake ice
machines; primary production etc
Potential problems
• Lack of transparency
• Complexity of SPS standards
• Threshold limits
• Standard takers instead of Standard Setters
• Relevance of the standard to the production
conditions of the exporting countries
• Domestic Regulatory Problems
Strategy for future
• Upgradation of level of standards within India
• Building-up scientific evidence to counter unreasonable SPS
• Exporters/EPCs should examine WTO-compatibility of
health and sanitary regulations/product standards
• Close co-ordination between Government and Exporters
regarding specific cases.
• Need for framing of standards for manufacture, production
units/processes, monitoring contaminants, sampling
procedures and additives
Strategy for future -Conformity Assessment Issues
• Test methods varying from international standards
 high sensitivity – based on capability not risk (eg chloramphenicol,
 non-validated (Norway – Vibrio cholerae)
• Different standards in different labs
• Results in increase in rejections
• Solution – joint testing, acceptance of certification of
exporting country & not retesting
• Article 5 provides SPS measures to be based on risk
assessment and if requested by exporting country make
known details of assessment
Thank You
(+91) 94151 18971