Fresh Perspectives Issue 16. Private voluntary standards and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
The Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Committee) deals with government regulations in the areas of food safety, animal and plant health. At these meetings, WTO member countries have the opportunity of raising specific trade concerns, e.g. if they believe that another country's sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are more trade-restrictive than necessary for health protection. In June 2005, St. Vincent and the Grenadines raised concerns about GlobalGAP (formally EurepGAP) pesticide requirements for banana importation, and the relationship between GlobalGAP and official EU requirements. Other developing countries shared this concern, wondering what alternatives were available to affected developing countries. The EU's response was that GlobalGAP standards were not official EU requirements and even if they went beyond official EU regulations, they were not in conflict with EU legislation. This paper seeks to explain how private standards have come up at the WTO and what some of the concerns are.
International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK, 2 pp.