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2008 transparency procedures

New transparency recommendations and formats. To SPS enquiry points and notification authorities: The WTO Secretariat would like to draw your attention to the Committee’s revised Recommended Procedures for Implementing the Transparency Obligations of the SPS Agreement contained in G/SPS/7/Rev.3 (hereafter the “2008 Transparency Procedures”), which will take effect on 1 December 2008.

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Some of the new elements contained in the 2008 Transparency Procedures include the following:

  • Members are encouraged to notify all proposed regulations that are based on, conform to, or are substantially the same as an international standard, guideline or recommendation, if they are expected to have a significant effect on trade of other Members. (see para.8 of G/SPS/7/Rev.3)

  • Where domestic regulatory mechanisms allow, the 60-day comment period to be provided in all regular notifications should begin with the circulation of the notification by the WTO Secretariat. (see para. 13 of G/SPS/7/Rev.3

  • Various transparency-related decisions and facilities, which up until now could be consulted under different document symbols, have been consolidated in the 2008 Transparency Procedures for easier access. These relate to the interval between the publication and entry into force of a regulation, the facility to access full texts of notified regulations, the availability of unofficial translations in the form of supplements, and the notification of recognition of equivalence (see para. 60, Annexes C, D, and E of G/SPS/7/Rev.3 respectively).

  • The notification formats (regular, emergency, addenda, corrigenda) have been modified to reflect the revised procedures and improve the clarity of the information provided. Modifications include default checkbox options for the 60-day comment period as well as the 6-month interval between the publication and the entry into force of a measure and also checkbox options to refer to the specific reason for an Addendum.

Please note that as of 1 December, only the new formats will be used to circulate SPS notifications.

We would also like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention two other transparency-related developments.

Since mid-2008, the Secretariat has been facilitating a mentoring mechanism among Enquiry Points and Notification Authorities of different Members. This procedure is described in document G/SPS/W/217. The objective of this voluntary procedure is to assist developing countries in a practical manner not only in fulfilling their obligations but also in benefiting from their rights arising from the transparency provisions of the SPS Agreement. The Secretariat has already facilitated the partnering of 11 developing country Members with mentors, some of whom are also developing countries.

The Secretariat would like to take this opportunity to launch a second call for Members interested in the mentoring process to inform the Secretariat by filling out the relevant form in G/SPS/W/217 by 30 January. We would in particular urge those interested in providing mentoring assistance to come forward as we tend to receive more requests than offers.

We would also like to inform you that New Zealand, with the assistance of Australia and the WTO Secretariat, has been preparing a procedural step-by-step manual for Enquiry Points and Notification Authorities. This Manual will be available for downloading from WTO's SPS gateway by the end of the year.

Notification formats
The complete set


Routine notification Addendum

Emergency notification Addendum

Notification of recognition of equivalence

Notification of availability of translations