With respect to agricultural products, the U.S. process for identifying and addressing SPS and TBT issues is coordinated, at least in the early stages, by employees of the USDA`s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the USDA`s main trade agency. A FAS office is the « investigative body » designated by the WTO to communicate with other countries about SPS measures and exchange information with and from industry groups and exporters, the USTR, foreign FAS posts and various regulatory bodies such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the USDA EPA and FDA. FAS staff maintain a database of foreign agricultural SPS and TBT measures with potential trade implications, including those that may be wto-compliant or other provisions of international trade agreements. The FAS chairs regular meetings of USDA technical staff from various USDA agencies to discuss the status of emerging and ongoing SPS/TBT issues, including options for resolving a potential dispute. The SPS Agreement established a Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (« SPS Committee »13), which provides for regular review of the operation and implementation of the Agreement. The first review was conducted in 1999, followed by reviews in 2005 and 2010.14 During these reviews, the Committee considered in detail the range of SPS issues and proposals, ranging from equivalence, transparency and harmonization of standards among countries, to technical assistance, special and differential treatment of developing countries, and dispute settlement. The reports contain recommendations on each of these topics. The second review also focused on the specific concerns expressed by WTO Members under trade-related SPS, as well as cooperation within the three standard-setting bodies (Codex, OIE and IPPC), see section « One of the provisions of the SPS Agreement is the obligation of Members to facilitate the provision of technical assistance to developing countries, either through the competent international organisations or at bilateral level. FAO, OIE and WHO have set up extensive programmes to support developing countries in food safety and animal and plant health.
A number of countries also have extensive bilateral programmes with other WTO Members in these areas. The WTO Secretariat has organized a programme of regional seminars to provide developing countries (and countries of Central and Eastern Europe) with detailed information on their rights and obligations under this Agreement. These seminars will be organised in collaboration with Codex, the OIE and the IPPC to ensure that governments are aware of the role these organisations can play in helping countries meet their needs and reap the full benefits of the SPS Agreement. Interested private business associations and consumer organisations may participate in the seminars. The WTO Secretariat also provides technical assistance through national workshops and to governments through their representatives in Geneva. Many EU members continue to advocate the application of the precautionary principle to a number of agricultural issues60, as well as in the United States. Agribusiness groups expressed concern that « a resolution on TTIP adopted by the European Parliament on 24 April  strongly expresses the EU`s intention to uphold the precautionary principle, which would undermine sound science and, ultimately, the agreement itself ». 61 Further background information on the application and application of the precautionary principle in international trade can be found in the « Application and application of the precautionary principle » section of this report. The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, also known as the SPS Agreement or SPS Only, is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO in early 1995.
 Overall, sanitary and phytosanitary measures covered by the Agreement are measures to protect human, animal or plant life or health from certain risks.  American Meat Institute (AMI), « Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations, Dallas Round, Negotiations Regarding Disciplines on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, » May 2012. See also « U.S. Meat Groups Support Stricter SPS Rules in Pacific Trade, » Food Chemical News, May 21, 2012. Chapter Six reaffirms the rights and obligations of both parties under the SPS-WTO Agreement. Establishment of a bilateral committee to improve each other`s understanding of SPS measures and to conduct in-depth and regular consultations on SPS issues. No, the SPS Convention allows countries to prioritize food safety, animal and plant health over trade, provided there is a demonstrable scientific basis for their food safety and health requirements. Each country has the right to determine the level of food safety and animal and plant health it deems appropriate on the basis of a risk assessment.
Compiled by CRS from various sources, including the text of the SPS Agreement, is available on the WTO website. See also J.C. Buzby, ed., International Trade and Food Safety, AER Report 828, USDA, November 2003. Food safety systems and food supply chains are mandatory for countries to access global markets. Therefore, international regulatory systems must be in place to ensure that food is safe for access to international markets and consumption. As a result, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement entered into force on 1 January 1995 with the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The SPS Agreement is an interaction between governments and applies only to government measures that may affect international trade. This publication is not intended to refer officially to the SPS Agreement, which is why we refer to the agreement itself for the exact language. In the Context of the Tokyo Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations (1974-79), an Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade was negotiated (THE TBT Agreement, 1979 or « Code of Standards ») (see note 2). Although this agreement was not developed primarily to regulate sanitary and phytosanitary measures, it included technical requirements arising from food safety and animal and phytosanitary measures, including limit values for pesticide residues, inspection and labelling requirements.
Governments that were members of the 1979 TBT Convention have agreed to apply relevant international standards (such as food safety standards developed by Codex) unless they consider that such standards would not adequately protect health. They also agreed to communicate to other Governments, through the GATT Secretariat, all technical regulations that are not based on international standards. The 1979 TBT Agreement contained provisions for the settlement of trade disputes arising from the application of food safety and other technical restrictions. 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.  Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are measures to protect humans, animals and plants from diseases, pests or contaminants. Implementation and monitoring: (Articles 12 and 13, Annex C) Establishment of a Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, providing a regular forum for consultation and exchange of information, regularly reviewing the implementation of the Convention and compliance with the Convention by Governments, monitoring progress in the global harmonization of standards and working closely with relevant technical organizations on SPS issues Factory. The SPS Committee meets 3-4 times a year to continuously discuss trade disputes related to SPS measures. As sanitary and phytosanitary measures are so effective in restricting trade, the governments of GATT member states have expressed concern about the need for clear rules for their use. The Uruguay Round objective of removing other possible barriers to trade has increased concerns that sanitary and phytosanitary measures could be used for protectionist purposes. In its first year of existence, the SPS Committee has developed recommended procedures and a standard format that governments should use for the necessary notice of new regulations. By the end of 1997, more than 700 reports on sanitary and phytosanitary measures had been submitted and distributed.
The Committee considered information provided by Governments on their national regulatory procedures, their use of risk assessment in the development of sanitary and phytosanitary measures and their disease status, in particular with regard to foot-and-mouth disease and fruit flies. In addition, a significant number of trade issues were discussed in the SPS Committee, in particular with regard to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). As required by the SPS Agreement, the SPS Committee has developed a preliminary procedure to monitor the application of international standards. The SPS Committee continues to work on guidelines to ensure consistency in risk management decisions to reduce the possible arbitrariness of actions taken by governments. In 1998, the SPS Committee will review the implementation of the SPS Agreement. Compiled by CRS from various sources, including the USTR, Technical Barriers to Trade Report 2013. The text of the TBT Agreement is available on the WTO website. .