Equivalence - Cclac.org

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Equivalence - Cclac.org

Equivalence of SanitaryMeasures in the WTO SPSAgreementMs Gabriela A. Catalani (Agricultural Engineer)CCLAC CoordinationArgentina2006


Article 4: Equivalence1) Members shall accept the sanitary orphytosanitary measures of other Members asequivalent, even if these measures differ from theirown or from those used by other Members tradingin the same product, if the exporting Memberobjectively demonstrates to the importing Memberthat its measures achieve the importing Member'sappropriate level of sanitary or phytosanitaryprotection. For this purpose, reasonable accessshall be given, upon request, to the importingMember for inspection, testing and other relevantprocedures.


Article 4: Equivalence cont.2) Members shall, upon request, enter intoconsultations with the aim of achieving bilateraland multilateral agreements on recognition of theequivalence of specified sanitary or phytosanitarymeasures.


1999a) Different interpretations of the scope of theconcept of Equivalence;b) Excessive information requested by theimporter, when receiving a request forequivalence of (a) sanitary measure(s) by anexporting country.


In order to make operational the provisions ofArticle 4, the Committee noted that:Equivalence of sanitary or phytosanitarymeasures does not require duplication orsameness of measures, but theacceptance of alternative measures thatmeet an importing Member's appropriatelevel of sanitary or phytosanitaryprotection;


The Committee agreed, among others, that 11Equivalence can be accepted for aspecific measure or measures relatedto a certain product or categories ofproducts, or on a systems-wide basis.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 3An importing Member shall respond in a timelymanner to any request from an exportingMember for consideration of the equivalence ofits measures, normally within a six-monthperiod of time.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 4The exporting Member shall provideappropriate science-based and technicalinformation to support its objectivedemonstration that its measure achievesthe appropriate level of protectionidentified by the importing Member. Thisinformation may include, inter alia,reference to relevant internationalstandards, or to relevant risk assessmentsundertaken by the importing Member orby another Member.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 5The importing Member should accelerate itsprocedure for determining equivalence inrespect of those products which it hashistorically imported from the exportingMember.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 6The consideration of a request for recognitionof the equivalence of its measures with regardto a specific product shall not be in itself areason to disrupt or suspend on-going importsfrom that Member of the product in question.Since a request for recognition of equivalencedoes not in itself alter the way in which tradeis occurring, there is no justification fordisruption or suspension of trade.If an importing Member were to disrupt orsuspend trade solely because it had received arequest for an equivalence determination, itwould be in apparent violation of itsobligations under the SPS Agreement.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 7When considering a request for recognition ofequivalence, the importing Member shouldanalyze the science-based and technicalinformation provided by the exportingMember on its sanitary or phytosanitarymeasures with a view to determining whetherthese measures achieve the level of protectionprovided by its own relevant sanitary orphytosanitary measures.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 8Where the objective basis forcomparison, or a similar approachestablished by a relevant internationalorganization, demonstrates that thelevel of protection achieved by theimporting Member's sanitary orphytosanitary measure differs from itsappropriate level of protection, theimporting Member should resolve thisdifference independently of theprocedure for determination ofequivalence.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 9In accordance with Article 9 (TechnicalAssistance),a Member shall give full considerationto requests by another Member,especially a developing countryMember, for appropriate technicalassistance to facilitate theimplementation of Article 4.


The Committee agreed, among others, that 101. The SPS Committee also encourages itsMembers to provide information on theEquivalence Agreements reached.


Article 4: EquivalenceProgress ?Results ?


Food for Thought.....- whether there is confusion about the matter;- whether equivalence is recognized de facto but notnotified as equivalence agreements;- whether there are requests for judgments ofequivalence and, if so, whether the adopted principlesand criteria are followed or, on the contrary, attemptsare made to delay any decision;- whether importers’ requirements are appropriate orexcessive, particularly where there is a previous historyof trade in a certain product or categories of products,the equivalence of which is requested.


Thank you very much foryour attentionMs Gabriela A. Catalani (Agricultural Engineer)CCLAC CoordinationArgentina2006

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