Introduction to SPS agreement
World trade Organization (WTO) was established in the year 1995 Jan 1 for liberalizing trade as well as to settle the trade disputes. Nepal became the member of WTO in year 2004 April 23 (2061 Baisakh 11). Although it was established in the year 1995 but the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) had provided the rules for the system since 1948. Till today there are 162 member nations and 22 observer nation. SPS is one of the agreements done by the member nation while acquiring the membership. In general Sanitary means health and Phytosanitary means plant health so SPS means food safety, animal and plant health. Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) is a separate agreement on food safety and animal & plant health standards to acquire the common standards in international trade. Article 20 of GATT allows government to protect human, animal or plant life or health, provided they do not discriminate or use this as disguised protectionism. The SPS agreement allows countries different standards and different methods of inspecting the products. SPS also focus on health effects on human dude to food imports such as melamine in milk or grayatoxin in honey etc. SPS also include on new plant or animal disease identification due to food imports or plant imports or animal imports on the basis of the scientific study. And lastly SPS agreement focuses the member nation for the transparency in laws which are made in trading system. Authority and Laws involved in SPS agreement 1. Food related laws and authority a. Food Act 2023 b. Food regulation act 2027 c. Feed act 2033 d. Feed regulation act 2041 e. CODEX contact point f. SPS national Inquiry point 2. Animal Related laws and authority a. Animal health and livestock services Act b. Animal health and livestock services regulation act c. Import export manual d. World organization for animal health 3. Plant related laws and authority a. Plant protection act 2064 b. Pesticide act 2048 c. Pesticide regulation act 2050 d. Import export manual 4. SPS notification authority SPS notification authority for Nepal is Ministry of Agricultural Development and Department of Statistics WTO. 5. SPS national inquiry point For Nepal the SPS national inquiry point is DFTQC, MoAD. Some of the laws are being posted in the edumala group I request to go through ones. There are also some international agencies which have been recognized by WTO for creation of guidelines and minimum standards for the trade: a. Food i. Codex alimentarius commission (CAC) b. Animal i. World organization for animal health ii. Animal health code c. Plant i. International plant protection commission SPS Agreement tries to sort out genuine cases from those that are potentially excuses from protectionism. It is described from the measures of either have to be based on the scientific evidence of risk or an international standards recognized by WTO. But every nation is free to set their own standards based on the scientific evidence. Nepali honey was not been exported to European Union till 2014 due to lack of Residue monitor planning (could not find the present situation documents) and Nepali tea was rejected from Europe in 2005 due to high pesticide maximum residue limit (MRL).