The Wto Agreement On The Application Of Sanitary And Phytosanitary Measures
Many governments have enshrined the core obligations of the SPS Agreement in their national rules. They shall first examine whether the application of one of the relevant international standards2 could provide the level of health protection that the country deems appropriate and, if not, will base their requirement on an assessment of the health risks associated with trade in the product. The SPS Committee has developed guidelines to help governments take a consistent approach in determining their acceptable levels of risk and in choosing the measures to be taken to achieve them.3 The SPS Agreement reflects the precautionary principle – a principle that allows them to act with caution in the absence of scientific certainty about potential threats to human health and the environment. Article 5.7 provides that members adopting interim measures are required to obtain further information on potential risks and to review the measure “within a reasonable period of time”. The Appellate Body in Japan – Measures Concerning Agricultural Products has stated that the length of a “reasonable period of time” must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.  Under spS rules, it is for the requesting country to demonstrate that a measure is contrary to Articles 2(2) and 5(1) to (5)(8) before it can be regulated, even if scientific knowledge can never be conclusive and it is not possible to test all the health risks that could result from the importation of a given product.  1. . . .