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Aquatic animal health and trade. Aquatic Animal Health Programmes: their benefits for global food security Panama City, Panama , 28 – 30 June 2011. Dr Sarah Kahn Head, International Trade Dept . Contents. Legal framework for international trade Role of the OIE in international trade

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aquatic animal health and trade

Aquatic animal health and trade

Aquatic Animal Health Programmes: their benefits for global food security

Panama City, Panama, 28 – 30 June 2011

Dr Sarah Kahn

Head, International TradeDept.

  • Legal framework for international trade
  • Role of the OIE in international trade
  • Trade: sanitary considerations
  • Resolving trade problems
  • Challenges
  • Conclusions
international trade legal framework





International Trade: legal framework

SPS Measures are taken to protect:

Human or risks arising from additives,

animal health contaminants, toxins or disease

organisms in food, drink, feedstuff

Human life plant- or animal-carried diseases

Animal or pests, diseases, disease-causing

plant life organisms

A country other damage caused by entry,

establishment or spread of pests

WTO SPS Agreement 1995

sps agreement key provisions
SPS Agreement: Key Provisions
  • Non-discrimination
  • Scientific justification
    • harmonization
    • risk assessment
    • consistency
    • least trade-restrictiveness
  • Equivalence
  • Regionalization
  • Transparency
  • Technical assistance/special treatment
  • Control, inspection and approval procedures

SPS Agreement: Key Provisions

Article 2.2

based on scientific principles

applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health (least trade restrictive)

Members shall ensure that any SPS measure is:

not maintained without sufficient scientific evidence

except as provided for in Article 5.7

scientific justification sps agreement articles 3 5
Risk assessment

OIE/Codex recommendations

International Trade: legal framework

Scientific justificationSPS Agreement Articles 3 & 5

Measures must be based on:

International standards

OIE and CAC (animal products)


trade measures transparency article 7 annex b and g sps 7 rev 3
Trade measures: transparency(Article 7, Annex B and G/SPS/7/Rev.3)

establish an Enquiry Point


designate a Notification Authority

Members shall

notify other Members of new or changed SPS regulations when

For more information see:

no international standard exists


the new regulation is different to the international standard

regulation may have significant effect on trade


international trade oie role
International trade: OIE role
  • OIE, CAC and IPPC ( ‘3 sisters’) set official standards for purposes of the SPS Agreement
  • OIE sets vertical (disease) standards

e.g. disease free countries/zones/compartments; safe commodities; trade measures; inactivation of pathogens…

  • and horizontal standards, e.g. risk assessment, judgement of equivalence and zoning

including animal production food safety

  • Codex is the reference ISSO for food safety
  • OIE and Codex collaborate to ensure seamless coverage of the food production continuum
trade sanitary considerations
Trade: sanitary considerations
  • Increasing aquaculture development increases the risk of international spread of aquatic animal pathogens, for example via:
    • the introduction of non-native species into new environments
    • sourcing brood stock for aquaculture development
    • uncontrolled entry of imported aquatic animals and their products into the aquatic environment
    • Introduction of new feeds, for species not previously cultured or for reasons of cost/convenience.
  • As well as risks associated with the deliberate or unintentional translocation of potential ‘invasive alien species’.
trade sanitary considerations11
Trade: sanitary considerations
  • The Aquatic Animal Code contains ‘vertical’ standards (disease specific) with provisions for ‘safe commodities’ (for which no additional sanitary measures are needed) and measures for commodities not considered as ‘safe’

…and horizontal chapters, which address issues of general relevance, such as hazards in aquatic animal feed; disease surveillance; certification; recognition of equivalence.

  • The Aquatic Manual provides standards for disease diagnosis and relevant scientific information.
trade sanitary considerations12
Trade: sanitary considerations
  • Most agents of significant aquatic diseases (viruses, bacteria) are not zoonotic;
  • Risks associated with zoonotic parasites can be addressed by freezing or cooking;
  • Food safety is an important consideration, including water quality (especially for molluscs); drug/chemical residues; processing hygiene
  • Codex Alimentarius, Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products (CAC/RCP 52-2003) and related standards eg Code of practice – general principles of food hygiene (CAC/RCP 1-1969).
resolving trade differences
Resolving trade differences
  • OIE voluntary mediation procedure
  • Technical evaluation based on standards adopted by OIE Members; no involvement of lawyers; less costly. Report confidential unless parties agree to release - outcomes are not binding
  • WTO dispute settlement procedure
  • Legal evaluation with possibility of appeal; is costly but outcomes are binding – report is released publicly once parties have commented.

Resolving trade differences

Article 9: technical assistance

Members agree to facilitate provision of technical assistance

  • To help countries comply with SPS measures
    • technology, research, infrastructure
    • advice, credits, donations, grants
    • technical expertise, training, equipment
  • To help countries maintain and expand market access

Role of the WTO Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF)

technical assistance


e-Training Courses on the SPS Agreement

Available all year long

National SPS Seminars

Two or three per year - Available upon request

(See G/SPS/GEN/997 for reference)

Thematic SPS Workshop

Workshop on National Coordination - 17-21 October 2011 (In the margins of the SPS Committee Meeting)

Regional SPS Workshop

Regional SPS workshop for: English and French-speaking Africa; Caribbean and Latin America; Middle East and Arab Countries (2011)

Advanced SPS Course

Advanced SPS Course - English – 10-28 October 2011


Productivity and sustainability of the aquaculture sector is challenged by:

  • the emergence of new diseases/syndromes
  • the need to establish optimal culture conditions (including feed), especially for new species
    • applied scientific research is needed
  • In addition, there is increasing consumer sensitivity to food safety problems
    • loss of consumer confidence, even short term, can cause major trade losses, and lost markets may be difficult to regain
  • New trade requirements continue to arise, particularly in ‘corporate social responsibility’
  • OIE sets standards for the welfare of farmed fish, based on the fact that animal health makes a major contribution to animal welfare
  • ISO 26000 ‘Social Responsibility’ (2011) see:

  • Private standards (PS) are under review by the SPS Committee in light of Members’ concerns
    • implications for market access & development
    • legal issues
  • Private standard setting organisations (PSSO) include private companies, national retailers’ associations and international organisations
  • Potential positive effects?
    • more stable presence in other markets
    • enhanced competition
    • facilitate compliance with international standards
    • better brand reputation > easy credit.
private standards possible implications
Private standards: possible implications
  • Exceed international standards
  • Go beyond official requirements
  • Become de facto market access requirements
  • Multiple different schemes
  • Little possibility for harmonisation
  • Costs associated with qualification

… certification alone estimated at US$ 2-8,000 p.a.

  • Impact on small- and medium- sized enterprises
  • Is there legal recourse under the SPS Agreement??
sps committee proposed actions
SPS Committee: proposed actions
  • agree on definition of SPS-related PS
  • pursue info exchange with Codex/OIE/IPPC
  • follow relevant developments in other WTO fora
  • encourage Members to communicate with PSSO
  • develop materials on importance of international interest
  • facilitate info exchange among Members and with PSSO
  • forum for discussion of specific trade concerns/PS
  • develop guidelines on Article 13
  • develop transparency mechanism for PS
  • develop Code of Good Practice
  • develop guidelines for Members to liaise
  • seek clarification on applicability of SPS Agreement
  • The WTO SPS system and the reference standards of the OIE and CAC provide a clear framework for safe international trade in aquatic animals and their products
  • There are challenges to this framework
    • However, official standards set by OIE and Codex are the sole acceptable basis for animal health and food safety
    • The OIE is working with PSSOs and Members to advocate this.
  • Developing countries may lack the infrastructure and resources needed to meet official standards and thereby credibility in issuing certification.
  • Capacity to implement efficient aquatic animal health programs must be strengthened, especially in developing countries
    • Collaboration between the OIE and FAO as well as regional organisations should be further developed;
    • Members should support the OIE twinning initiative for aquatic animal health laboratories.
  • Some challenges can only be addressed by applied scientific research
    • Support of governments and donors is needed
  • Good collaboration between the public and private sector is key to market access.

The PVS Pathway can help Members to comply with the OIE international standards for quality of Veterinary Services and Aquatic Animal Health Services…

Helping to improve the domestic

supply of safe, affordable food and

provide the basis for participation

in regional and international markets..

Leading to improved food security


Thank you for your attention

With thanks to

WTO Secretariat

email: enquiries@wto.orgwebsite: