Workshop on transparency

The Secretariat of the World Trade Organization organized a workshop on the transparency provisions of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 30-31 October 2017.

Geneva, WTO Headquarters
31 Oct



Representatives of Members, Observers and Observer Organizations were all invited to participate in the transparency workshop as well as the subsequent meetings of the SPS Committee.

Document G/SPS/GEN/997/Rev.7 provides information on the workshop. The WTO, with the financial assistance of the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF), sponsored the participation of approximately 40 government officials from developing country Members and Observers in the workshop. The Secretariat selected sponsored participants among applications from government officials in charge of the implementation of the transparency provisions of the SPS Agreement.

The workshop was a highly interactive, hands-on event, including training on the use of the improved SPS Information Management System (SPS IMS) and on-line submission system of SPS notifications (SPS NSS), as well as on the ePing SPS/TBT notification alert system.

The workshop also provided a forum for discussion and experience sharing on developments, challenges and practices in the area of SPS transparency. In addition, it was an occasion to continue the discussions on transparency started as part of the Fourth Review of the implementation of the SPS Agreement.

o The programme and the report of the Workshop are contained in documents G/SPS/GEN/1568/Rev.2 and G/SPS/R/89, respectively.



10:00–10:15 Opening remarks by Mr Marcial Espínola Ramirez, Chairman of the SPS Committee

Overview of the workshop and its objectives

10:15–10:45 — Session 1: Introduction


  • Mr Rolando Alcala, WTO Secretariat
    Overview of the transparency provisions in the SPS Agreement and of relevant Committee/Ministerial Decisions

10:45–11:15 — Session 2: WTO sources of SPS information


  • Mr Tim Corrigan, WTO Secretariat
    Documents Online; ePing; I-TIP; improved version of the SPS IMS
  • Ms Serra Ayral, WTO Secretariat
    ePing SPS/TBT notification alert system

11:30-13:30 — Participants will break into three groups: (i) English speakers; (ii) French speakers; and (iii) Spanish speakers.

Session 3: Practical session on the use of the improved SPS IMS

SPS IMS hands-on exercise

Session 4: Practical session on the use of ePing
ePing hands-on exercise

13:30–15:00 — Lunch break

15:00–15:30 — Session 5: New trade facilitation obligations in the SPS area


  • Ms Sun Hydén Biney, Senior Trade Policy Adviser for SPS issues at the Swedish National Board of Trade, Sweden

15:30–16:00 — Session 6: Implementation of the transparency provisions


  • Mr Rolando Alcala, WTO Secretariat
    Presentation of Members' level of implementation of transparency provisions and recommendations (G/SPS/GEN/804/Rev.10)

16:00–16:20 — Session 7: Overview of the improved SPS NSS


  • Mr Tim Corrigan, WTO Secretariat
    Presentation of the improved SPS NSS platform: what has changed? How does the on-line submission facility work?

16:30–18:00 — Session 8: Practical session on the use of the improved SPS NSS

Participants will break into three groups: (i) English speakers; (ii) French speakers; and (iii) Spanish speakers.

SPS NSS hands-on exercise


10:00–10:15 — Opening remarks

10:15–13:00 — Session 9: Sharing of national experiences and best practices in public consultations

Part 1: Models and mechanisms for public consultation in SPS rulemaking

This session will focus on relevant international work in the area of public consultation in the regulatory development process.


  • OECD: Ms Mariana Karttunen, Policy Analyst, Regulatory Policy Division, Public Governance Directorate, OECD
    Stakeholder Engagement in Regulatory Policy
  • World Bank: Mr Alfredo Gonzalez Briseno, Regulatory Governance Specialist, Regulatory Policy and Management, Governance Global Practice, World Bank
    Online Public Consultation: From Concept to Implementation with Results that Matter
  • Malaysia (APEC): Ms Roziana Othman, Senior Manager, Smart Regulation, Malaysia Productivity Corporation
    Malaysia's experiences in establishing a mechanism for public consultation in the rule-making process
Part 2: Domestic experiences in public consultation

In a round table setting, speakers in this session will share their experiences in conducting public consultations when developing SPS regulations


  • Ms Zhang Rong, Senior Agronomist, Research Center for International Inspection and Quarantine Standard and Technical Regulation, General Administration of Quality Supervision, inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) acting as WTO/SPS National Notification and Enquiry Center, China
  • Mr Edgar Osmar Gomez Garavito, Negotiating Advisor on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Ministry of Economy, Guatemala
  • Ms Tugba Adiguzel Kargin, European Union Expert, General Directorate of EU and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock, Turkey
  • Dr Nurten Aksu, Engineer, General Directorate of Food and Control, Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock, Turkey
  • Ms Kristen Hendricks, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), US Department of Agriculture, United States
  • Mr Jay Mitchell, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), US Department of Agriculture, United States

13:00–14:30 — Lunch break

14:30–16:15 — 14:30-15:00 plenary, 15:00-16:15 groups

Session 10: What actions could improve the implementation and benefits of SPS transparency provisions?

A brief introduction of the topics below will be presented in plenary. Participants will then break into groups to further discuss one or several of these topics:


  • Ms Sally Jennings, Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand
    Decision criteria: what to notify and when
    Presentation - English Group - English Group B
  • Ms Roxana Inés Vera Muñoz, Sub-departmental Chief, International Agreements, Department of International Negotiations, Division of International Affairs, Agricultural and Livestock Service, Chile
    How to manage the volume of notifications on which to comment
    Presentation - Spanish Group
  • Ms Kristina Hartling, Deputy Director, Trade Agreements Division, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada
    Consultations with government and non-government stakeholders on foreign SPS notifications
    Presentation - French Group
Approximately 1 hour will be allocated for group discussions.

16:30–17:30 — Reporting to the plenary

Rapporteurs of each group will report back to the plenary (5 minutes each). The floor will then be opened for questions and comments.

17:45–18:00 — Session 11: Conclusion