Health and plant health measures can, by their very nature, lead to trade restrictions. All governments accept that certain trade restrictions may be necessary to ensure food security and the protection of animal and plant health. However, there is sometimes pressure on governments to go beyond what is necessary to protect health and to use health and plant health restrictions to protect local producers from economic competition. This pressure is expected to increase as the Uruguay Round agreements remove new trade barriers. A health or plant health restriction, which is not really necessary for health reasons, can be a very effective protectionist device and, because of its technical complexity, constitute a particularly misleading and difficult obstacle. Under the SPS agreement, the WTO sets limits on Member States` policy on food security (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling) and animal and plant health (phyto-hygiene) with regard to pests and imported diseases. There are three standards bodies that set standards on which WTO members should base their SPS methods. According to Article 3, they are the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the secretariat of the International Convention on the Protection of Plants (IPPC). Given the diversity of climatic conditions, pests or existing diseases or food safety conditions, it is not always appropriate to impose the same requirements on food, animal or plant products in different countries in terms of plant hygiene and protection. As a result, sanitary and plant health measures sometimes vary depending on the country of origin of the food, animal or plant product concerned. This is taken into account in the SPS agreement. Governments should also recognize disease-free areas that may not conform to political boundaries and adapt their needs to the products of those regions. However, the agreement examines unjustified discrimination in the application of sanitary and plant health measures, whether for the benefit of domestic producers or foreign suppliers.
Technical barriers to CTA trade covered by the WTO agreement on technical barriers to trade. References to the former GATT agreement of the same name as the OBT agreement “1979” The transparency provisions of the SPS agreement are intended to ensure that measures to protect human, animal and plant health are communicated to the public and interested trading partners. The agreement obliges governments to immediately publish all health and plant health provisions and to present, at the request of another government, the reasons for a specific food or animal or plant safety requirement.