Cabinet approved South Africa’s ratification of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Annex to the Southern African Development Community‘s (SADC) Protocol on Trade and for this to be submitted to Parliament.
Agriculture is one of the key sectors in the SADC region due to the sector having the highest potential for growth in terms of export. SADC realises, however, that the sector can only grow significantly if producers are able to access markets for agricultural products. To facilitate market access and promote intra Africa trade it is critical that border trade policies, including SPS measures be harmonised in line with international standards and guidelines in the interest of improving the movement of goods and services in the region. (Read in more red tape)
The SADC Protocol on Trade to which SA has acceded, serves to promote regional cooperation and integration amongst member states for trade in goods and services within the region, including agricultural products.
Article 16 of the Protocol encourages member states to base their Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures on international standards, guidelines and recommendations so as to harmonise SPS measures for plant health, animal health and food safety.
To give effect to the provisions of Article 16 of the Protocol, an SPS annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade was drafted and consequently adopted by the SADC Committee of Ministers of Trade (CMT), in July 2008. Annex VIII to the SADC Protocol on Trade concerning SPS measures represents an enabling regional strategy to promote cooperation in SADC with regards to issues of food safety, plant health and animal health.
In addition, most SADC member states are also signatory members to the World Trade Organisation‘s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (WTO-SPS) which places obligations on member states to ensure that the SPS measures they implement are least restrictive to trade, while being scientifically justifiable for the protection of human, animal or plant life and health.
The ratification and implementation of the SPS Annex will therefore facilitate improved mechanisms and institutional arrangements in conformity with obligations under the WTO-SPS agreement so as to minimise SPS related issues that impact the trade of agricultural and services trade within the region. Source: SA Government
Want to understand more on the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures – Click here!