All governments of WTO Member States must maintain an en-information point, an office designated to receive and respond to requests for information on sanitary and phytosanitary measures in that country. These applications may include copies of new or existing regulations, information on relevant agreements between two countries, or information on risk assessment decisions. The addresses of the en-information points can be found here. Specific sanitary and phytosanitary requirements are most often applied on a bilateral basis between trading countries. Developing countries benefit from the SPS Agreement because it provides an international framework for sanitary and phytosanitary arrangements between countries, regardless of their political and economic strength or technological capacity. By the ofsy, developing countries could be at a disadvantage if they challenge unjustified trade restrictions. In addition, under the SPS agreement, governments must accept imported products that meet their safety requirements, whether these products are the result of simpler and less sophisticated methods or advanced technologies. Enhanced technical assistance to support developing countries in the area of food safety and animal and plant health, whether bilaterally or through international organizations, is also part of the SPS Agreement. Within the WTO, a Special Committee has been established as a forum for the exchange of information among member governments on all aspects related to the implementation of the SPS Agreement. The SPS Committee reviews compliance with the Agreement, examines issues with potential trade implications and maintains close cooperation with relevant technical organizations. In a trade dispute relating to a sanitary or phytosanitary measure, normal WTO dispute settlement procedures are applied and appropriate scientific expert advice may be sought. The transparency provisions of the SPS Convention aim to ensure that measures to protect human, animal and plant health are made available to the public and interested trading partners.
The agreement requires governments to publish all sanitary and phytosanitary requirements without delay and, at the request of another government, to provide an explanation of the reasons for a particular food safety or animal or plant health requirement. Summary: The trade liberalization to be achieved under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture should lead to export promotion and import substitution opportunities for the Indian food sector. However, these opportunities can only be exploited if serious attention is paid to two important WTO agreements – the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). Based on the experience and credibility of food, trading partners impose import restrictions based on food safety and quality concerns. These concerns are legitimized by the SPS and TBT agreements. Therefore, in order to make the most of these agreements, India needs to improve its safety and quality standards to comply with Codex standards and participate effectively in Codex standard-setting meetings. In addition, it must require substantial amendments to certain articles of these agreements that appear to be discriminatory. Finally, India needs to strengthen import monitoring mechanisms to ensure that national food and plant health laws are effectively enforced on imported foods. .