Thematic SPS Workshop on Transparency and Coordination

Geneva, WTO Headquarters

The Secretariat of the World Trade Organization organized a workshop on transparency and coordination in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, 15 July and Tuesday, 16 July 2019. Representatives of Members, Observers and Observer Organizations were all invited to participate in the workshop, as well as the subsequent meetings of the Committee. Document G/SPS/GEN/997/Rev.9 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 participants to be sponsored among applications from government officials in charge of the implementation of the SPS Agreement.The first draft of the programme was discussed at the 2019 March SPS Committee meetings. Members were invited to submit comments on that first draft programme and subsequent revision, and suggest speakers. The Secretariat selected participants to be sponsored among applications from government officials in charge of the implementation of the SPS Agreement. In addition, the United States and the African Union (AU) had made it possible for eight and five participants, respectively, from Africa and Central America to attend the workshop and the meetings of the Committee.

The objective of this workshop was to bring together Members' officials responsible for the implementation of the SPS Agreement, as well as experts from regional and international organizations, to exchange experiences with transparency-related coordination, and with broader domestic coordination mechanisms. An area of focus was the difference in scope between the SPS and TBT Agreements, and notification of measures containing both SPS and TBT elements. The final programme and report are contained in G/SPS/GEN/1694/Rev.2 and G/SPS/R/96.

Monday, 15 July 2019 (10:00–18:00)

10:00 – 10:15 - Opening remarks

  • Ms Noncedo Vutula, Chairperson of the SPS Committee

Overview of the workshop and its objectives

10:15 – 11:15 - Session 1


This session will briefly present the key SPS transparency provisions and recommendations. It will give an overview of the difference in scope between the SPS and TBT Agreements, including examples. It will also review the relevant transparency provisions and procedures. The session will end with a report on the TBT Committee Thematic Session on Transparency held on 18-19 June 2019.

Speakers: Mr Rolando Alcala and Ms Serra Ayral, WTO Secretariat

11:15 – 13:00 - Session 2

Implementation of the transparency provisions: Members' experience with SPS/TBT notifications


  • Brazil: Submitting notifications: the Brazilian experience, Mr Diogo Penha Soares, Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency; and
  • Brazil: Incoming notifications: the Brazilian experience, Ms Naiana Campos Gil Ferreira Santiago, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply
  • Japan: Implementation and handling of SPS and TBT notifications: Japan's experience, Mr Minoru Iijima, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Chinese Taipei: Coordination mechanism of SPS/TBT notifications, Mr Hung-Jen Liao, Section Chief of International Affairs, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Council of Agriculture
  • Canada: Regulations containing elements under both the WTO SPS and TBT Agreements: Canada's experiences, Ms Emma Pagotto, Analyst, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Uganda: Notifying draft measures which contain both SPS and TBT provisions: Ugandan experience, Mr George Opiyo, TBT National Enquiry Point, Uganda National Bureau of Standards

13:00 – 15:00 - Lunch break

15:00 – 16:00 - Session 3

Tools and sources of SPS/TBT information

  • Overview of WTO tools (Documents Online; SPS IMS; updated Practical Manual for SPS NNAs and NEPs (2018 edition); and
  • Update on ePing: SPS & TBT notification alert system and coordination forum, Mr Rolando Alcala, WTO Secretariat
  • The Non-Tariff Measures Initiative: Enhancing transparency in SPS and TBT, Mr Christian Knebel, UNCTAD
  • Global Trade Helpdesk: Single entry point for trade-related information, Mr Mathieu Loridan, ITC

16:00 – 17:45 - Session 4

Sharing of Members' experiences: Transparency-related coordination

This session will cover transparency-related coordination mechanisms including tools such as the use of ePing and other systems. It will also cover Members' experiences in using these systems to ensure the notification of all SPS/TBT regulations and to exchange information.


  • Uganda: Transition from using email to disseminate SPS and TBT notifications to adoption and implementation of ePing notification alert system in Uganda, Mr George Opiyo, TBT National Enquiry Point, Uganda National Bureau of Standards
  • China: Domestic coordination of SPS transparency in China, Mr DENG Jie, China Nanjing Custom
  • Australia: Using ePing and engaging the private sector, Mr John Heaslip, Senior Policy Officer, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • New Zealand: How training contributes to better transparency, coordination and delivery, Ms Sally Jennings, Coordinator, SPS New Zealand

17:45 – 18:00

Closing remarks and wrap-up of day 1

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 (10:00-17:30)

10:00 – 10:15

Opening remarks

10:15 – 11:15 - Session 5

Guidelines and available tools for domestic coordination

This session will broaden the perspective, covering coordination tools and experiences beyond the scope of the SPS Agreement. It will include coordination experiences from the trade facilitation area, from use of the STDF's "Prioritizing SPS Investments for Market Access" (P-IMA) tool.


  • WTO Secretariat: Ms Sheri Rosenow, Trade Facilitation
  • UNCTAD: Ms Pamela Ugaz, Trade Facilitation Section
  • STDF: Ms Roshan Khan, Standards and Trade Development Facility
  • Belize: Ms Delilah Cabb Ayala, Coordinator Sanitary and Phytosanitary Enquiry Point, Belize Agricultural Health Authority Central Farm

11:15 – 13:00 - Session 6

Sharing domestic coordination experiences

This session will explore the use of domestic coordination mechanisms for purposes broader than transparency-related coordination, including developing strategies to prevent and resolve SPS trade concerns and establishing Members' positions and priorities:


  • Canada: Canada's national coordination mechanisms, Ms Annie Bourque, Deputy Director, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Peru: National coordination on SPS issues: Peru's experience, Mr Marcelo Valverde, Coordinator of SPS Measures, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism
  • Kenya: SPS coordination in Kenya, and efforts towards better national and regional coordination, Mr Philip Njoroge, Coordinator, Trade and Standards, Chairman, WTO/SPS Committee Kenya, Kenya Plant Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS)
  • United States: National coordination procedures, transparency and WTO notifications: The US experience, Ms Mara Burr, International Food Safety Policy Manager (Public Health and Trade), US Food and Drug Administration
  • Senegal: Coordination mechanism of the national SPS committee activities, Mr Abdoulaye Ndiaye, Head of Phytosanitary Legislation and Plant Quarantine Division, Plant Protection Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Infrastructure

Taking advantage of the expertise in the room, participants will have the opportunity to share experiences and lessons learnt.

13:00–15:00 - Lunch break

15:00 – 17:00 - Session 7

Regional/International initiatives to support domestic coordination


  • African Union: Initiatives of the African Union to support national and regional coordination on SPS issues, Mr John Oppong-Otoo, Food Safety Officer InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources, African Union Commission.
  • ECOWAS: Regional coordination and status on application of the transparency provision of the WTO SPS Agreement: ECOWAS' experience, Dr Benoit Gnonlonfin, Senior SPS standards adviser
  • IICA: Lessons learnt from domestic coordination: Best practices, Mr Erick Bolaños, Agricultural Health and Food Safety Specialist
  • Chile: Action plan for strengthening the National Notification Authorities of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico) in the area of SPS, Ms Roxana Inés Vera Muñoz, Head International Agreements Sub-departmental, Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG)
  • APEC: Encouraging transparency in food safety regulatory systems in the APEC Region, Ms Megan Crowe, Senior International Economist, US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, and Administrator of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum (FSCF) Partnership Training Institute Network (PTIN)

17:00 – 17:30

Closing remarks by Mr Daniel Arboleda, Chairperson