Magic numberDuring the 20 – 21 October meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Committee) at WTO headquarters in Geneva, attention was drawn to a new phytosanitary standards under development that could have a major impact on international trade in goods. In particular, it was noted that work is underway on a standard for “minimizing pest movement by sea containers and conveyances in international trade”, and a similar standard for air containers and aircraft will be developed in future.
Delegates were cautioned that work on these important standards could be delayed as the IPPC standards-setting programme is facing cuts because of a shortage of operational funds. Thus the meeting’s “magic number” was determined to be -1.2 million USD, the International Plant Protection Convention’s projected budget deficit for 2011. Australia, the EU and US supported the IPPC’s call for extra funding and urged delegations to raise the issue with relevant agencies in their countries.
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