The Key Provisions of the Agreement

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2.10 Regionalization — Adapting measures to regional conditions

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The existence or spread of pests and diseases is often determined by geographic and ecological conditions rather than political borders. Article 6 of the SPS Agreement recognizes the concepts of pest- or disease-free areas. Such an “area” may be only part of a country, or all or parts of several countries, in which a specific pest or disease is not prevalent. The efficiency of control measures and epidemiological surveillance are important factors in defining such areas. The practical implication is that an importing Member should not deny access to goods from such areas even if the disease prevails elsewhere in the exporting country(ies). Similar to the provisions for equivalence, it is the exporting Member’s burden to prove the disease-free status that it claims for the region, and the exporting Member is obligated to grant access to the importing Member for investigation of the claim. For example, for fruit exporters market access often depends on the recognition of areas free from fruit flies, just as for meat exporters it can depend on recognition of freedom from foot and mouth disease.

The OIE and IPPC are working on international standards for disease- or pest-free areas. Go to http://www.oie.int and http://www.ippc.int for the latest information.



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