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WTO NEWS: 2003 PRESS RELEASES

Press/361
22 October 2003
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

France donates 100,000 euros to WTO technical assistance

On 21 October 2003, the French Government made a contribution of 100,000 euros (150,000 Swiss francs) to the WTO technical assistance fund. This donation, by the French Ministry of Agriculture, is earmarked to finance activities in 2003 and 2004 related to the implementation of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement).

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“At this particular time in the life of the WTO, this fresh contribution is a sign of France's renewed confidence in the multilateral trading system and its supervisory organization,” stated Philippe Gros, the Permanent Delegate of France to the WTO. “It reflects France's desire to help those of its development partners interested in acquiring in-depth knowledge and understanding of the multilateral trade agreements, in particular the SPS Agreement, given the significance of its provisions in trade terms.”

“I should like to thank France for its contribution,” said WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi. “The technical assistance provided by the WTO is crucial to its developing country Members and should help them not only to participate fully in the negotiations currently under way, but also to continue to implement the existing agreements.”

The SPS Agreement requires WTO Members to base their sanitary and phytosanitary measures on scientifically justified requirements. Trade in agricultural products is of particular importance to most developing countries and an appropriate understanding of the SPS Agreement is essential.