SANITARY & PHYTOSANITARY MEASURES

Thematic Session on Approval Procedures

Live Webcasting:

Geneva, WTO Headquarters

A thematic session on approval procedures was held on 5 November 2019 as agreed by the SPS Committee in March 2019. The programme was circulated in document G/SPS/GEN/1704/Rev.1, based on the proposal submitted by Canada in document G/SPS/W/310.

Building upon the July 2018 Workshop on Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures, the purpose of the thematic session was to explore concepts within Article 8 and Annex C of the SPS Agreement, as they relate to approval procedures, including undue delays, transparency and information requirements. The session focussed on a broad array of themes, including pre-market approvals, approval of biotech products, domestic regulations and work of international standard-setting bodies. Various perspectives from Members, international standard-setting bodies and the private-sector were presented and possible opportunities for cooperation amongst these players were explored.

 

Chairperson: Ms Debora Cumes Mariscal

1 THE SPS AGREEMENT, GUIDANCE AND RELEVANT JURISPRUDENCE

Review of the provisions of the SPS Agreement (Article 8 and Annex C), Committee guidance and relevant dispute settlement reports related to approval procedures

Speaker:

Followed by Q&A session and discussion

2 RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

Explore how the relevant international standards, guidelines or recommendations can inform approval procedures and assist in meeting the obligations related to approval procedures as outlined in Annex C.

Speakers:

  • Codex Alimentarius: Codex guidance on import and export requirements including safety assessment of foods derived from biotechnology, Ms Gracia Brisco, Codex Secretariat
    Presentation
    (Mr Patrick Sekitoleko Presentation from 9 July 2018 event)
  • IPPC: Guidance for determining and justifying phytosanitary import requirements, including for LMOs that pose a pest risk, Mr Brent Larson, Implementation and Facilitation Unit Leader, IPPC Secretariat

Followed by Q&A session and discussion

3 SHARING OF MEMBERS' SUCCESSES, CHALLENGES, CONSIDERATIONS, IMPACTS AND BEST PRACTICES RELATED TO APPROVAL PROCEDURES

Experiences related to completing approval procedures.

3.1 Importing Members' Perspective

Speakers:

  • Canada: Canada’s regulatory approach to approval procedures from an import perspective, Mr Evan Lewis, Director, Trade Agreements Division, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Presentation
  • Ukraine: Update of Ukranian legislation on approval procedures, Dr Olena Koreata, Head of Directorate for International Cooperation, State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection
    Presentation
  • China: System evaluation and enterprise registration in the SPS area, Mr Kong Xiaobang, Deputy Director, General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China
    Presentation
  • European Union: Authorization of imports of food of animal origin into the EU, Dr John McEvoy, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission
    Presentation
  • South Africa: Experience relating to completing approval procedures, Dr Ernest Phoku, Director, Inspection Services at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of South Africa
    Presentation

3.2 Exporting Members' Perspective

Speakers:

  • New Zealand: Experiences with respect to international approval and inspection requirements, Dr Bill Jolly, Chief Assurance Strategy Officer, New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries
    Presentation
  • Turkey: Enhancing the institutional environment through a participatory approach, Ms Isil Aytemiz Danyer, European Union Expert, General Directorate of EU and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
    Presentation

3.3 Challenges and Costs associated with Approval Procedures

Speakers:

  • Paraguay: Challenges associated with approaches to biotech approvals, Mr Santiago Bertoni, Advisor on International Trade Issues for the Minister of Agriculture
    Presentation
  • United States: Costs of asynchronous biotech approvals on trade, investment and innovation, Mr Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, Professor, Division of Applied Social Sciences, University of Missouri
    Presentation

Followed by Q&A session and discussion

4 APPROACHES TO FACILITATE APPROVAL PROCEDURES

Overview of initiatives that could facilitate effective, efficient approval procedures, enable access to tools and technologies, and facilitate international trade.

4.1 Members' Initiatives

Speakers:

  • Turkey: Recent applications for trade facilitation, Ms Tugba Adiguzel Kargin, European Union Expert, General Directorate of EU and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; and Mr Mehmet Nadir Guneri, Trade Expert, General Directorate of Product Safety and Inspections, Ministry of Trade
    Presentation

4.2 Private Sector Perspective

Speakers:

  • International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC): The grain trade perspective on approval procedures for biotech and pesticides, Ms Krista Thomas, Vice President of Canada Grains Council and IGTC LLP
    Presentation
  • MAIZALL (International Maize Alliance): The maize-grower perspective on approval procedures for biotech and pesticides, Mr Juan Minvielle, President, MAIZALL
    Presentation

Followed by Q&A session and discussion

5 CLOSING

Roundtable moderated by Canada

Discussion on some overarching themes such as:

  • Based on the discussions throughout the thematic session, in Member's views, what are aspects of approval procedures that enable the facilitation of international trade?
  • What are the key challenges of approval procedures faced by industry and by importing and exporting countries that Members should seek to address?
  • As a next step, how can the SPS Committee enhance the implementation of approval procedures consistent with the obligations of the SPS Agreement that facilitate trade?
  • What are possible areas for future work by the SPS Committee?
  • As a next step, is there work the international standard-setting bodies could undertake to provide further guidance to Members to help ensure approval procedures do not create unjustified barriers to trade?

Speakers:

  • Ms Krista Thomas, Vice President of Canada Grains Council and IGTC LLP
  • Mr Santiago Bertoni, Advisor on International Trade Issues for the Minister of Agriculture, Paraguay
  • Mr Carlos Alvarez Antolinez, Advisor, European Commission
  • Ms Gracia Brisco, Codex Secretariat

Activity Evaluation

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