Specific plant health and protection requirements are most frequently applied on a bilateral basis between trading countries. Developing countries benefit from the SPS agreement, which provides an international framework for health and plant health arrangements between countries, regardless of their political and economic strength or technological capacity. In the absence of such an agreement, developing countries could be at a disadvantage if they challenge unjustified trade restrictions. In addition, governments must accept, under the SPS agreement, imported products that meet their safety requirements, whether they are the result of simple, less sophisticated methods or advanced technologies. Strengthening technical assistance to developing countries in the area of food security and animal and plant health, both bilateral and international, is also part of the SPS Convention. Improve human status, animal health and plant health medicine in all members; Given that health and plant health measures can so effectively limit trade, governments in GATT member countries have expressed concern about the need for clear rules for their use. The objective of the Uruguay round to remove other potential barriers to trade has heightened fears that health and plant health measures could be used for protectionist purposes. The SPS agreement strengthens the transparency of health and plant health measures. Countries should define SPS measures on the basis of an appropriate assessment of the actual risks they present and, upon request, indicate what factors they have considered, the assessment procedures they have followed and the level they deem acceptable.
Although many governments already implement a risk assessment in the area of food security management and animal and plant health, the SPS agreement calls for the broader application of systematic risk assessment between all WTO member governments and for all relevant products. In accordance with this agreement, members are fully responsible for meeting all of the commitments set out in this agreement. Members formulate and suspend positive measures and mechanisms to support compliance with the provisions of this agreement by entities other than the seats of central government. Members take appropriate measures at their disposal to ensure that non-governmental organizations located on their territory and regional entities to which the competent authorities on their territory are parties comply with the relevant provisions of this agreement. In addition, members do not take any action that directly or indirectly obliges these regional or non-governmental authorities or local authorities to act in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of this agreement. Members ensure that they rely on the services of non-governmental organizations to implement health or plant health measures only if they comply with the provisions of this agreement. In adopting the WTO agreement, governments have agreed to be bound by the rules of all multilateral trade agreements attached to it, including the SPS agreement. In the event of a trade dispute, WTOs dispute resolution procedures (click here for an introduction, click here for more details) encourage the governments concerned to find a mutually acceptable bilateral solution through formal consultations. If governments are unable to resolve their dispute, they may choose to follow one of the different ways of resolving disputes, including good offices, conciliation, mediation and arbitration. Another government may request the creation of an impartial body of trade experts to hear from all parties to the dispute and make recommendations.