NCC joined 18 food, agriculture, manufacturing, business and trade groups amidst Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to recommend several effective disciplines on the application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures that underscore the importance of science‐based regulation.

In order to improve disciplines on SPS measures, the groups noted that the TPP agreement should include provisions that do the following:

  • strengthen and elaborate requirements regarding risk assessment and risk management;
  • reinforce the WTO rule that requires regulators to select the least‐trade‐restrictive of available risk management options;
  • promote trade‐facilitating measures such as equivalence, recognition of inspection systems and harmonization of export certificates;
  • require parties to provide an adequate grace period before implementing new, nonemergency measures;
  • enhance transparency by: requiring notification of all new measures, not just those that deviate from international standards; requiring the sharing of more background data regarding new measures; requiring parties to allow adequate time for comments on draft measures, to subsequently respond to comments and to publish a summary of comments received; and requiring greater use of the internet and electronic documents;
  • strengthen the role of science‐based international standards and promote the harmonization of standards;
  • grant importers the automatic right, in the case of an adverse test result, to a confirmatory test in a competent laboratory that uses validated testing methods; and
  • establish a pro‐active committee agenda that encourages partners to collaborate on specific issues in order to facilitate trade.

Most essential, these WTO‐plus provisions must be fully enforceable under the agreement, the groups said.

The paper which includes a backgrounder on the issue, is available by clicking here.