U.S. raises four issues at WTO SPS meeting



Joe Whitworth|Food Safety News

The United States raised four new issues at a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) committee on food safety and animal and plant health this past month.

The Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures also discussed 12 previously raised issues at the meeting on June 24 to 26.

Specific trade concerns (STCs) identified by the U.S. were Thailand’s draft list of hazardous substances regarding food containing pesticide residues, India’s new requirements for animal feed, China’s administrative measures for registration of overseas manufacturers of imported food and Vietnam’s regulations on animal feeds and husbandry — the latter was jointly raised with Argentina.

Thirteen other new STCs included Saudi Arabia’s temporary suspension of Brazilian poultry exporting plants raised by Brazil, Costa Rica’s import restriction on dairy products raised by Mexico, general restrictions on imports of chocolate and cocoa products due to maximum levels of cadmium raised by Peru, and Nepal’s import ban on energy drinks raised by Thailand.

“In particular, we would like to share our deepest concern about one very recent development and the request by one WTO member, which is also one of the largest global trading countries for agri-food products, of stringent additional verification measures on all imported food products,” it read.

“If individual members insist on additional, unnecessary verification measures, the situation could easily lead to a global spiral toward imposing unjustified import controls in the agri-food chain. This would do nothing to control the current pandemic but will be very harmful to food security, food prices, and global trade relations and it will also undermine the trust of the public.”

The SPS Committee is scheduled to hold its next meeting on Nov. 5 and 6.

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