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Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements


Workshop: The SPS Committee and the International Standard-Setting Organizations

The Secretariat of the World Trade Organization organized a workshop on the relationship between the SPS Committee and the three international standard-setting organizations referenced in the SPS Agreement, the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), the FAO International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). This workshop was held in Geneva, Switzerland on 26 October 2009, and was followed by informal and formal meetings of the SPS Committee, lasting until Thursday, 29 October. On Friday 30 October, an STDF-organized workshop on using economic analysis in SPS decision–making was held.

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See also:
More on sanitary and phytosanitary measures

STDF website

about SPS’s “three sisters” — the international standards-setting bodies:
Codex Alimentarius
World Organization for Animal Health
International Plant Protection Convention

The workshop focused on the procedures and issues before the Codex, IPPC, and OIE (“three sisters”), and how to ensure effective coordination with the work of the SPS committee. Representatives of the three sisters made presentations and contributed to the discussions.

Representatives of Members, Observers and Observer Organizations were all invited to participate in the workshop as well as the subsequent meetings of the SPS Committee. Fifty officials from least-developed and developing countries who were involved with the issues addressed in the workshop, had their participation in the workshop funded by WTO. 

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • To examine the procedures and issues faced by Codex, IPPC and OIE in the development, adoption and monitoring of the use of international standards of relevance to the SPS Committee; and
  • To discuss concrete actions to improve coordination between the Committee and the three sisters, and to increase effectiveness and avoid the duplication of efforts.

The workshop attempted to identify concrete actions to:

  • Enhance the coordination between the Committee and three sisters, and between the three sisters;
  • Increase the use and usefulness of international standards;
  • Avoid unnecessary duplication of effort; and
  • Ensure that the standard-setting process is in line with the implementation of the SPS Agreement, and facilitates trade in agriculture and food products.


Documents and presentations  back to top

Workshop programme
WTO Secretariat presentation
Codex presentation
IPPC presentation
      > FAO biosecurity tool kit
      > IPPC dispute settlement manual
OIE presentation
EU submission

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What is the STDF?
The Standards and Trade Development Facility is a joint initiative of the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Organization for Animal Health and Food and Agriculture Organization. The facility acts as a forum for sharing information on past, present and planned technical co-operation activities related to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. It also provides grant financing for projects and for the preparation of projects aiming to enhance developing countries’ capacity to meet SPS standards.