IPPC joins WTO launch of SPS Transparency Champions Course

Posted on Tue, 25 Oct 2022, 07:34

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Geneva, 20 October 2022. The Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) joined the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) in launching the 2022 edition of the Transparency Champions Course in Switzerland on 3-7 October.

The SPS Transparency Champions Course, attended by 18 officials from the African region, aims to enhance participants' understanding of the SPS Agreement’s transparency provisions, obligations and recommendations as well as their importance for agricultural trade. The IPPC continues its collaboration with the WTO-SPS by providing its expertise on SPS issues in the training course.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala underlined the importance of transparency as a fundamental pillar of the Agreement on the Application of SPS Measures and the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement.

Adriana G. Moreira, IPPC Standard Setting Officer and FAO Programme Specialist, emphasized that the IPPC standard setting process aims to be transparent, thus the IPPC has made all relevant documents available on the IPPC website.

Moreira also highlighted the importance of communication and the provisions of the IPPC on national reporting obligations. She provided an example on how the Republic of Korea kept trade uninterrupted despite the fire blight outbreak, through efficient communication, national reporting and transparency of the national plant protection organization. This example was also presented as a best practice at the International Plant Health Conference held in September and co-organized by the IPPC.

The IPPC Secretariat also highlighted commodity standards, a new frontier for IPPC, saying that these standards will not impose any new obligations for importing countries and are intended to expedite market access and trade negotiations.

Further best practices were also shared at the event, including those from Gracia Brisco, Food Standards Officer of the Codex Alimentarius and from Francisco D'Alessio, Deputy Head Standard Setting of the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).

The SPS Transparency Champions Course is ongoing from October 2022 – May 2023. Applicants from eligible WTO member and observer nations were selected in June 2022 to participate in the course.

The WTO-SPS Agreement recognizes the IPPC as the relevant international standard-setting organization that facilitates elaboration of standards to ensure that phytosanitary measures are not used as unjustified barriers to trade. The IPPC is one of the "Three Sisters" in international standards recognized by the WTO-SPS Agreement, along with the Codex Alimentarius Commission for food safety standards and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) for animal health standards.

Related information:

The IPPC and the SPS Agreement - International Plant Protection Convention

DG Okonjo-Iweala stresses importance of SPS, TBT transparency to facilitate trade (WTO news)

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