- About bilaterals.org
- How to participate
- Key issues
- Texts of agreements
Sanitary, phytosanitary and technical barriers to trade in EPAs
CTA | 28 September 2010
Sanitary, Phytosanitary and Technical Barriers to Trade in EPAs
Download the study (PDF)
Regional trade agreements (RTAs) have become a distinctive feature of the international trading landscape. Their number has increased significantly in recent years, as WTO Member countries continue to negotiate new agreements. Some 200-odd agreements have been notified to the WTO, but the real number may be higher, as some are never notified to the multilateral bodies, and many more are under negotiation. As a result, an increasing amount of trade is covered by preferential arrangements, prompting many analysts to suggest that RTAs are becoming the norm rather than the exception.
Many regional pacts contain obligations that go beyond existing multilateral commitments, and others deal with areas not yet covered by the WTO, such as investment and competition policies, as well as with labor and environment issues. Regional and bilateral agreements between countries at different stages of development have become common, as have attempts to form region-wide economic areas by dismantling existing trade and investment barriers, an objective that figures prominently in East Asian countries’ trade strategies.
Yet, the effects of RTAs on the multilateral trading system are still unclear. This is also true with respect to their impact on trade and sustainable development. RTAs represent a departure from the basic non-discrimination principle of the WTO and decrease the transparency of global trade rules, as traders are subject to multiple, sometime conflicting, requirements. This is particularly the case in relation to rules of origin, which can be extremely complex and often vary in different agreements concluded by the same country. Also, the case that WTO-plus commitments enhance sustainable development has yet to be proven. Indeed, it is not even clear whether RTAs enhance or hinder trade.
This paper from ICTSD on "Sanitary, Phytosanitary and Technical Barriers to Trade in the Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and the ACP Countries" sets out a common vision on issues that could constitute sanitary, phytosanitary and technical barriers in EPAs and investigates how abusive use of these provisions could be an obstacle to market access. The study also promotes experience-sharing among different ACP regions in terms of drawing up negotiating positions. The issues covered include:
the EPAs’ disciplines on traditional barriers to market access, including tariffs and quotas;
provisions addressing non-traditional barriers to trade in the WTO agreements and the various EPAs;
technical regulations standards and conformity assessments procedures;
sanitary and phytosanitary measures;
the relationship between the EPAs’ rules on non-traditional barriers to trade and those in the WTO agreements period.
Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development
bilaterals.org and a new ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) platform to be hosted at bilaterals.org seek to hire a coordinator for their work. This is a great opportunity for someone interested in working on a full-time, paid basis to support people’s struggles against so-called free trade and investment deals globally, through a job share for two separate but complementary projects.
Find out more.
News from the movements
4-Aug-2015 http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/15532The San Quintín Valley, one of Mexico’s highest producing agricultural areas with a market aimed principally at export, is also one of the places with the most abusive, unsanitary and harmful working conditions for day laborers.
3-Aug-2015 Western TelegraphHealthcare protesters People’s NHS Wales lined several streets in Haverfordwest with placards in their latest bid to highlight concerns over what the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could mean for our health service.
3-Aug-2015 TPPA Auckland Call to Action GroupThe stalling of yesterday’s TPPA negotiations in Maui provide light relief for the citizens of New Zealand, but we cannot be complacent in thinking that our Government will not continue on signing our country up to a deal that may be detrimental for generations to come.
31-Jul-2015 MiningWatch CanadáOrganizaciones de la sociedad civil reciben con satisfacción el anuncio que Infinito Gold desistirá de su tortuosa intención de construir una mina en Costa Rica a pesar de la clara oposición del pueblo costarricense y los repetidos fallos en su contra.
31-Jul-2015 ZDNETNegotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement appear likely to undo New Zealand’s ban on software patents, showing "how disconnected the government and the negotiators are from the interests of New Zealanders."
31-Jul-2015 ScoopA legal challenge to the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations will be launched in the High Court of New Zealand next week.
30-Jul-2015 The Associated PressAbout 400 protesters blew conch shells on a Hawaii beach to demonstrate against a trade agreement being negotiated by ministers from 12 Pacific Rim nations.
29-Jul-2015 Center for International Environmental LawA coalition of environmental and fair trade organizations are protesting the inclusion of language in the “Customs bill” in the US Congress that would explicitly prevent the United States Trade Representative from seeking to address climate change in trade agreements.
bilaterals.org is a collaborative space to share information and support movements struggling against bilateral trade and investment deals which serve corporations, not people. Multilingual. Global. No one owns it. Open publishing. Get involved.