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WTO NEWS: 1998 PRESS RELEASES

PRESS/99
4 May 1998

Joint release: WTO and OIE WTO and the Office International des Epizooties sign cooperation agreement 

Mr Jean Blancou, Director-General of the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), and Mr Renato Ruggiero, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, exchanged letters of cooperation today, 4 May 1998.

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The exchange formalizes cooperation that has already been taking place between the two organizations related to the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) which establishes rules for human, animal and plant health measures affecting international trade.

The OIE is the world organization for animal health. It establishes recommendations and guidelines for the regulation of trade in animals and products of animal origin. Headquartered in Paris, it was created in 1924 and now comprises 150 members.

The WTO deals with international trade rules. Its SPS Agreement recognizes the OIE as the leading international standards-setting organization for animal health and animal diseases that are transmissible to humans (zoonosis).

Today’s letters formalize the cooperation between the two organizations in a number of areas. These include: participation as observers in each other’s meetings; sharing information and exchanging documents; technical advice from the OIE for the SPS Committee; and technical advice for use in dispute settlement cases; as well as jointly-organized seminars, conferences and training activities in particular for developing countries.

For more information on the two organizations, see their websites: the OIE at http://www.oie.int, and the WTO at www.wto.org.