Posted on Fri, 10 Jul 2020, 10:04
Rome, 26 June 2020 - The Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures meeting took place at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters* from 24 to 26 June to coordinate responses and facilitate safe agri-food trade during the global pandemic. The meeting allowed members and observers to join virtually via the Interprefy platform, while an electronic process provided participants with the possibility to share information and interact, thus streamlined the work of the SPS Committee.
The meeting began with an informal session dedicated to COVID-19 where the WTO-SPS Secretariat provided information on SPS notifications related to the COVID-19 emergency and stressed the importance of complying with requirements of the SPS Agreement during the current crisis. The Secretariats of the three international standard setting bodies, Codex Alimentarius, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), reported on their respective areas of work and described the great efforts made to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The “three sisters” agreed on the importance of taking a multi-sectorial approach and enhancing global networks to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Participants stressed the importance of adhering to international standards, ensuring transparency and continued participation in the work of the international standard setting bodies. Participants highlighted that SPS measures are technically based, including COVID-19 emergency measures. In addition, an increased uptake in electronic certification tools and other trade-facilitating measures was explained as a direct consequence of the crisis. Some members notified permanent moves to phytosanitary certification within the IPPC ePhyto Solution implemented with the support of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF). Members also remarked that the SPS systems have been resilient despite the considerable challenges in mitigating the impacts of COVID-19.
During the formal session, the IPPC Secretariat reported on activities and members raised specific trade concerns.