SPS/TBT measures are considered to be types of non-tariff measures or trade barriers and relate to trade policies such as quotas, import licensing systems, hygiene rules and other types of prohibitions – with the exception of import duties – that can restrict trade.6 Given that import duties have been reduced to relatively low levels in most countries as a result of negotiations. multilateral trade and bilateral and regional free trade agreements, non-tariff measures 7 D. Roberts, T.E. Josling and D. Orden, « A Framework for Analyzing Technical Trade Barriers in Agricultural Markets », TB-1876, March 1999. Builds on previous work: D. Roberts and K. DeRemer, Overview of Foreign Technical Barriers to U.S. Agricultural Exports, ERS Staff Paper. No.
9705, March 1997. Technical barriers to trade are defined as « measures that restrict the import of products that do not meet a country`s health, safety or environmental standards » and include, among other trade-restrictive measures, most types of SPS and TBT measures. The SPS Agreement is closely linked to the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, which was signed in the same year and pursues similar objectives. The TBT emerged from the WTO Tokyo Round negotiations and was negotiated with the aim of ensuring non-discrimination in the adoption and implementation of technical regulations and standards.  TBT measures could cover all issues, from vehicle safety to energy-saving devices to the shape of food cartons. To give some examples of human health, TBT measures could include pharmaceutical restrictions or cigarette labelling. Most measures related to the control of human diseases fall under the TBT Agreement, unless they concern diseases transmitted by plants or animals (e.g. B rabies). For food, labelling requirements, nutrition claims and concerns, quality and packaging requirements are generally not considered sanitary or phytosanitary measures and are therefore normally subject to the TBT Convention. Source: USTR, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Report 2013 (www.ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2013%20SPS.pdf) and Technical Barriers to Trade Report 2013 (www.ustr.gov/sites/default/files/2013%20TBT.pdf).
Although a number of developing countries have excellent food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary services, others do not. For them, the requirements of the SPS Convention pose a challenge to improving the health situation of their people, livestock and crops, which can be difficult for some to meet. Because of this difficulty, the SPS Agreement postponed all requirements, with the exception of transparency (notification and establishment of enquiry points), until 1997 for developing countries and until 2000 for least developed countries. This means that these countries are not required to provide a scientific justification of their sanitary or phytosanitary needs before that date. Countries that need longer lead times,. B for example to improve their veterinary services or to implement specific obligations under the Agreement, may request the SPS Committee to grant them further time limits. Notes: Although not presented here, most free trade agreements also contain general provisions relating to TBT measures. Yes, since 1948, national measures in the field of food safety, animal and plant health affecting trade have been subject to GATT rules. Article 1 of the GATT (see footnote 1), the most-favoured-nation clause, required non-discriminatory treatment of products imported from various foreign suppliers, and Article III required that such products not be treated less favourably than domestically produced products in terms of laws or regulations applicable to their sale. These rules applied, for example, to limit values for pesticide residues and food additives, as well as to restrictions on animal or plant health.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)76 is responsible for improving animal health worldwide. The OIE is not part of the United Nations, but of a separate intergovernmental organization established in 1924 under an international agreement.77 The SPS Convention designated the OIE as the competent International Organisation for Animal Health Standardization and states: « In order to harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures on the broadest possible basis, Members shall support their phytosanitary measures based on international standards. Guidelines or recommendations. 78 At the same time, negotiators between the US and the EU are working to resolve existing SPS disputes, and both sides have modified some aspects of their regulatory systems to facilitate certain SPS that are seen as an obstacle to a US-EU trade deal.44 Nevertheless, some members of Congress have expressed concern that US companies are complying with EU regulatory requirements. on food and feed and the EU. agricultural products. In addition to USTR 45, he expressed concern that the EU is openly promoting its own « production values » and developing strategies to « act as a global standard-setter to improve the competitiveness of European industry ». 46 Other groups, as well as some members of Congress, expressed concern that a US-EU trade agreement and harmonization of regulatory standards could lead to an overall decline in health and environmental standards, particularly SPS/TBT measures, by making them enforceable through a dispute settlement process.47 USTR, National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (or NTE Report); and the USTR Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and the Report on Technical Barriers to Trade. The SPS and TBT annual reports were first launched under the Obama administration in 2010 (following a speech by Ron Kirk, then USTR, in July 2009; see www.ustr.gov/trade-topics/enforcement).
Previously, SPS and TBT measures were generally described in each country`s profile in the NDE report. The United States, like other countries, has a comprehensive, often overlapping system to protect consumers from dangerous food and agricultural products and to protect their animal and plant resources from foreign pests and diseases. A large number of implementing laws and regulations, directives and administrative procedures underpin this system. These are essentially the country`s SPS measures. Important authorities are briefly described below. While not all trade concerns regarding the application of SPS and TBT measures are the subject of a formal complaint to the WTO, some trade concerns related to SPS/TBT measures may develop into a formal trade dispute that, in some cases, requires dispute settlement between the United States and its trading partners within the WTO. The OIE is based in Paris and is still known by its former French abbreviation OIE (International Office of Epizootics), although it has been renamed the World Organisation for Animal Health. The OIE is not part of the United Nations, but is a separate intergovernmental organization established in 1924 under an international agreement. For more information, visit the OIE website: www.oie.int/index.php. As of September 2013, the OIE had 178 members. An agreement on how governments can apply measures in the area of food safety and animal and plant health (sanitary and phytosanitary measures or SPS) sets out the basic rules of the WTO.
TBTs are very different measures by which countries regulate markets, protect their consumers and preserve natural resources, but which can also discriminate imports in favour of domestic products. Others counter that current trade agreements explicitly recognize the right of individual nations, as well as states and municipalities, to adopt stronger protections than international guidelines when they deem it appropriate. The U.S. is uniquely positioned to face challenges because its health and safety policies are scientifically justifiable, U.S. officials argued. Many believe that spS and TBT agreements form the basis for the development of transparent and science-based trade policies, as well as an effective framework for the settlement of disputes in these areas. Others argued that ongoing free trade agreements such as the TPP and TTIP should take a closer look at certain aspects of these agreements. The effectiveness and flexibility of sps and TBT rules continue to be tested by the rapid evolution of food production technologies, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, which did not raise immediate concerns at the time of the conclusion of the agreements in 1994. Other available studies provide insight into the potential magnitude of the market economy and the economic impact of non-tariff barriers, including SPS/TBT measures. For example, a 2007 survey found that of the SPS and TBT measures affecting trade in 690 agricultural products exported worldwide, only four products did not encounter barriers in any importing country.132 In addition, of the 154 countries examined, only 92 were subject to measures under the SPS and TBT agreements. Studies also show that SPS and TBT measures can have a negative impact on the exports of other countries, especially developing countries. A 2008 study shows that agricultural exports from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are often negatively and significantly affected by SPS and TBT measures in certain import markets for a range of tropical and diversified products such as fruit, fruit, fruit and vegetables and preparations, grains, oilseeds, and cocoa and cocoa preparations.133 Researchers at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also note that « the cost of food compliance has a relatively higher macroeconomic impact in low-income countries than in high-income countries. » 134 The SPS Convention increases the transparency of sanitary and phytosanitary measures.