WTO Members may impose measures for the protection of human, animal, plant life or health reasons, under the Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures (SPS). The measures imposed should conform to international standards and guidelines, in order to ensure harmonisation in implementation. The measures should not restrict the flow of trade, implemented in a non-discriminatory manner and should be applicable to all countries and domestic producers or suppliers.
Despite these guidelines, disputes have been referred to the WTO on SPS measures. For example, the ban imposed by the US on importation of poultry products from China is viewed as discriminatory protectionism by China as it violates the obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and the SPS Agreement. The US however insists that the SPS measures taken by them are to ensure food safety and is based on scientific evidence as required under the SPS Agreement and therefore is in compliance... Read More