Through presentations, practical case stories and discussions, the workshop aimed at expanding members' understanding of the relevant provisions and jurisprudence on SPS control, inspection and approval procedures, providing guidance from various standard-setting bodies, and sharing regional and national experiences. Presentations and discussions also highlighted the economic rationale for strengthening the implementation of Annex C in order to reduce trade transaction costs, and addressed how the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) links to, and complements, the SPS Agreement.

The workshop looked at SPS controls, inspections and approvals through the lens of trade facilitation in order to define ways to promote safe and efficient trade. Presentations by the World Bank, the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) drew on actual experiences, provided estimates on SPS-related trade transaction costs, and identified win-win opportunities to facilitate safe trade, such as interagency collaboration and increased transparency.

Several members shared their experiences. In the field of food safety, the European Union presented its approach to a systems-based audit procedure, as opposed to individual inspections, for the implementation of EU legislation; the United States and Canada reported on their risk-based approaches regarding procedures and inspections; and China updated participants on its reforms in inspection and supervision systems for food imports.

The workshop also benefited from presentations by Turkey on its inspection system for animal and animal products; by Zambia on its interagency collaboration for phytosanitary controls and document checks; and by Belize on its experiences with third party certification to access export markets. It was recognized that although the resources allocated to SPS controls, inspections and approvals vary greatly between countries, innovative and cooperative approaches can result in entirely functional and effective systems. E-certification was addressed in a dedicated session of the workshop. Overall, participants recognized the widespread benefit of e-certification, such as reduced costs, improved security and expedited clearance.

The workshop ended with a roundtable, in which representatives from the World Bank, UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) discussed their ongoing trade facilitation capacity building programmes.

The Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF) sponsored 32 participants, selected from developing and least developed countries, to attend the two-day workshop. In addition, the WTO sponsored the participation of four external speakers in the event.

Presentations from all sessions of the workshop are available here.



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