Topic: World Trade Agreements
You see this gives the USDA and the FDA the right to let in all this poisoned food and products we are now currently seeing and being recalled only after Complaints such as death or sickness from the PUBLIC.
I can bet that congress has no idea what is in these agreements. They are signed by the Leaders of the Countries involved. As these agreements are from Organizations that we the people did not vote for.. Codex Alimentarius, International Office of Epizooties-OIE and International Plant Protection Convention_IPPC
These agreements are based on consensus by the parties
Aims to ensure that governments do not use quarantine and food safety requirements as
Unjustified trade barriers to protect domestic industries from import competition. It provides
Member countries with a right to implement traceability as an SPS measure
Posted by xstatic99645
at 6:11 PM YST
Testing and Quarantine
Topic: World Trade Agreements
This paper is dated Oct 2004 but will explain trade agreements and quarantine, lots of good information in it to which I'm sure is still pertinent, just a couple of notes to peak your interest...
Access to food that is nutritious and safe is a basic human necessity, but ensuring food
Safety has been made more difficult in recent years as a result of increasing international Trade. A greater quantity and variety of food is travelling further, often with multiple Origins and destinations. In order to preserve food safety and protect the agricultural
Industry from disease, Australia applies quarantine regulations that are more stringent Than in many other countries, but frequently these precautions are considered a barrier to trade that must be removed to further trade liberalisation. Introduction Page 9
International trade agreements can threaten food safety regulations in 2 ways, firstly during trade negotiations, changes to quarantine requirements may be sought in exchange for other market concessions. Secondly even if not officially on the negotiating table or part of a resulting agreement, under the WTO rules quarantine can be challenged by trading partners as unnecessarily restrictive if regulations exceed minimal international guidelines Page 9
Australia is under increasing pressure to "Harmonize" quarantine regulations with international standards (WTO 2002 2003b) but if Australia had subscribed to similar standards as other countries in the past, it would not be free of Mad cow disease or avian flu. Page 9
The potential Impact of international trade agreements on public health in general and on food safety in particular has received very little attention. Page 10
Several agreements and principles now govern international trade between WTO Signatories. The agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), and principles of Equivalence (Box 1) are intended
To facilitate trade by removing non-tariff barriers and have considerable potential to Affect food safety as they govern import risk assessment and the application of Quarantine. Failure to comply with these agreements entitles an aggrieved trading
Partner to initiate dispute settlement proceedings (see Section 2.3). Page 12
Bilateral, regional and global agreements
In general, members of the WTO may not discriminate either between trading partners Or between locally made and imported products that are similar (Lawrence 2003). Furthermore, the ‘most favoured nation’ rule means that whenever a WTO member Country upgrades the benefits it provides to a trading partner, it must grant all other WTO members the same privileges so that they remain equal. Page 12
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS Measures) Negotiations during the Uruguay Round Tables in 1994 agreed to reduce agricultural tariffs in order to bring rules for agricultural goods in line with those for manufactured goods (Beierlie 2002). This led to a concern that some countries might evoke quarantine regulations not to protect public health and keep industry free from exotic pests and disease but rather rather to protect the economic interests of their agricultural industries (Nairn 1996). The SPS agreement was therefore developed to limit the restrictions that countries could place on foods in the name of health and safety. Although in theory countries can set levels of protection that they deem appropriate, these must be ( Scientifically justifiable" and not merely a means to restrict international trade. SPS measures are subjectively defined, but there purpose is to prevent food-borne risks or pests and diseases affecting the life and health of humans, animals and plants in a manner that impacts on international trade (Pauwelyn 1999). Before the SPS agreement, agricultural and health regulations has to be justified only after a violation of GATT was discovered (Pauwelyn 1999). Agriculture remains highly protected despite SPS rules and efforts to reduce tariffs (Beierlie 2002) Page 13
Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement
The technical aspects of goods such as size, labelling, shape, performance and Packaging are covered by the TBT Agreement (OECD 2003) which lists circumstances Where countries may restrict trade although again these restrictions must be considered
Necessary and not more restrictive than required to meet objectives. Human, animal And plant health, environmental protection, national security and prevention of Deception are considered legitimate reasons to restrict trade under TBT (WTO 2003c).
The Agreement appears to provide for some freedom for countries to take steps to Protect public health, but such measures are subject to international approval, ensuring That health objectives and restrictions are limited to those deemed by trading partners To be appropriate. Page 13
Equivalence polices are intended to reduce replication of procedures between countries; but in practice they limit a country's sovereignty over national public health decision-making because the failure to accept another country's procedure as equivalent may be perceived as an unnecessarily restrictive trade practice.Page 13
Page 17 Science based risk assessment is described. This is what Mike Johanns all ways talked about. Science based..
The role of quarantine in trade agreements
Science-based risk assessment
In April 2003, the EC brought a complaint against Australia to the WTP, arguing that Unless individual exemptions are granted, Australia’s quarantine requirements Prohibiting the import of live and dead animals, fresh meat, plants, fruit and vegetables Are unduly restrictive to trade. The EC also objected to Australia’s refusal to accept the Equivalence measures of other countries as unfair (WTO 2003b). Any WTO member Country may elect to be involved in a given dispute brought about by another member; For the current EC dispute, India and the Philippines have declared themselves to be Interested parties.
‘Science’ is invoked in trade law to distinguish legitimate concerns from actions that are Taken for protectionist reasons (Harlow 2004). The SPS Agreement enables a country to Maintain its standards providing they are scientifically based and consistently
Implemented (Nairn 1996). WTO members are allowed, in principle, to set their own Acceptable level of risk, and can choose SPS measures to reduce risk to a degree Considered acceptable in import risk assessment. The SPS measures invoked are not
Permitted to be more trade restrictive than is necessary to meet the required level of risk. However, there is little recognition that potential risk is assessed within a particular Context and is subject to constraints (Harlow 2004). ‘Science’ therefore remains full of Uncertainty. The WTO requires that uncertainty be dealt with consistently by member Countries (Crawford-Brown et al. 2004). Differences of opinion as to the meaning of ‘science-based’ should be restricted to the approaches used for risk assessment. There is some disagreement concerning whether or not risk assessment should be ‘consistent With internationally accepted approaches’ (Codex Alimentarius Commission 1995b, p.
It is widely accepted that quarantine should be science-based, but what this means in Practice is in dispute. For example, both sides of the Australia-US FTA negotiations Were in public agreement that quarantine regulations must be based on science (Deady
And Ives 2003). During the negotiations Australia continued to reiterate its support for The SPS Agreement. With the signing of the Australia-US FTA that included changes to Quarantine, DFAT was quick to recommit to science-based risk assessment.
Both countries have reaffirmed that decisions on matters affecting Quarantine and food safety will be based on science. The agreement
Preserves the rights of both countries to protect animal, plant and Human health and life in their respective territories. Australia’s Regulatory systems, risk assessment and policy development processes Are not affected, and the AUSFTA does not compromise Australia’s Quarantine regime (DFAT 2004b).4
Science is by nature intended to Be objective, but making risk assessments and deciding what constitutes an acceptable Level of risk to public health requires some level of value-judgement. The stakes are Perhaps higher for Australia as an island continent that is relatively disease-free. Howse (2004) suggests that the WTO overestimates the ability of existing science to resolve Health-related trade disputes. In order to continue to be relatively disease free, Australia Requires that a cautious approach be maintained.
This statement is then true. Quarantine can not be used as it isnt a Science based risk assessment
Aims to ensure that governments do not use quarantine and food safety requirements as Unjustified trade barriers to protect domestic industries from import competition. It provides Member countries with a right to implement traceability as an SPS measure http://www.oie.int/eng/publicat/rt/2002/WILSON.PDF
Import risk assessment can take Years, and there is growing pressure to reduce the time to gain import clearance to a
Maximum of six months (Brenchley 2003). New import risk assessments are subject to A review by an expert panel after input from stakeholders (DAFF 2004a) and are then Enforced by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS). The regulatory body
For food quality and safety in Australia is Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
The 1996 Nairn report Australian Quarantine urged government and industry to work Together to develop good quarantine practices. Australia’s subsequent ‘strong and active’ participation in the Uruguay negotiations for an SPS agreement was commended
By the WTO at the time (WTO 1998) but, because Australia maintains more stringent Quarantine standards than other countries, its position has since been perceived by Trading partners as hypocritical (European Commission’s Delegation 2003), and Protectionist. No matter how effective this cautious approach has been in the past, it is Not considered appropriate in the current international trade arena. There is a perceived Conflict between a country’s right to set an appropriate level of protection (which may Be conservative as in the case of Australia) and the belief in free trade.
Member countries are, however, allowed under Article 3 of the SPS Agreement to set Higher standards of protection than those internationally recognised, as long as they are Scientifically justified or considered to provide an appropriate level of risk for the
Importing country (Biosecurity Australia 2003). Taking a cautious approach is not, However, considered to be scientifically justifiable. Although international food safety Standards are not intended as a ‘ceiling’ on national standards, any national standards
Deemed to exceed them must justify their more rigorous criteria on ‘scientific’ grounds (Nairn 1996). The standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission have already Been invoked as the benchmark in international trade disputes and are expected to be
Used increasingly as such (FAO and WHO 1999). While international standards are not Supposed to prevent governments from protecting public health, welfare and Environment (Marceau and Trachtman 2002), nevertheless countries with more Stringent requirements, such as Australia, are expected to lower their food and Agricultural standards to match those of other countries, or leave themselves vulnerable To retaliatory measures from the dispute settlement process.
Australia’s cautious approach to the risk assessment of imported goods is considered by Some other countries to be inappropriate. With the expansion of international trade, Pressures on strict quarantine regulations are increased. A US report on barriers to trade
(that is, impediments to US exports) accuses Australia of applying quarantine Regulations unscientifically to protect national markets by restricting trade.
A good example:
In a dispute over the importation of uncooked salmon because of fears that it carries Sea-lice, Australia had requested more time to conduct a risk assessment than was Considered by the WTO Panel to be reasonable (Pauwelyn 1999). Although not a threat To human health, sea-lice can kill salmon and entry into the country poses a direct and Serious threat to the lice-free status of the Australian industry (Green 2003). In 1999
Australia was ordered to open its market and accept imports of fresh, chilled and frozen Salmon (USTR 2000). In response, Tasmania enacted its own quarantine legislation to Defend its lice-free salmon industry. Tasmania’s action was challenged by Canada, and Again the WTO ruled that the ban was unjustified, as Tasmania had failed to evaluate The likelihood of entry, establishment and spread of sea-lice (Pauwelyn 1999). The Import restrictions were deemed not to have been based on science in the absence of a Quantitative risk assessment (Pauwelyn 1999), and measures were not considered to be Consistently applied as other types of fish were being imported (Atik 2004).5
The hazard inherent in the WTO ruling became apparent in September 2003 when sea Lice were found under the skin of salmon imported into Australia from Norway (Green 2003). This example illustrates that pressure from trading partners and the system of
Dispute settlement under the WTO forced Australia to compromise its quarantine Regulations, and the result was a real threat to an Australian industry.
This is a very telling statement
Prime Minister John Howard said the government has no option but to Follow the recommendation of the regulator [the WTO], otherwise it Would be seen as protectionist (AFX News 2004).
The transmission of pathogens from animals to humans constitutes perhaps the most Serious threat to public health. Newly acquired animal viruses often prove especially Harmful to humans, and part of the danger can lie in their invisibility and the potential
Delay between infection and the onset of symptoms. While outbreaks of avian flu tend To be sudden and therefore alarming, they also tend to be obvious and relatively readily Contained. The impact of some other pathogens may not be immediately obvious. BSE,
For example, is particularly insidious, taking several years for infection to become Apparent in both cattle and, as vCJD in people. Young cattle not exhibiting any signs of Disease can still transmit the disease. Containing such a disease, with possibly decades-
Long lead time, is especially difficult. The precise source of a human case can be Impossible to trace.
Article 4 of the Code of Ethics for International Trade in Food clearly states the Conditions under which food may be traded: no food in trade should have ‘in or upon it Any substance in an amount which renders it poisonous, harmful or otherwise injurious To health’ (Codex Alimentarius Commission 1985, p. 2). Determining what constitutes a Dangerous amount of a particular substance is a matter of controversy. Furthermore, Food must not be ‘sold, prepared, packaged, stored or transported for sale under Unsanitary conditions’ (Codex Alimentarius Commission 1985, p. 2). Although these Principles appear explicit, their application is open to interpretation and has been the
Subject of sometimes fierce debate between trading partners. Different panels of experts Have frequently reached different conclusions as to the perceived level of risk. This Occurred in June 2003, for example, with the halving of international recommendations
For maximum exposure to methylmercury (a common contaminant of some fish and Seafood) (JECFA 2003), with Australia taking a further nine months to change its own Recommendations (FSANZ 2001e). Furthermore, some people may have a lower
Threshold of tolerance to some substances and may be more susceptible to the effects. One ‘national diet’ may also vary substantially from another, creating vastly different Patterns of exposure. Some substances may cause long-term damage even at very low
Levels of exposure, and the delay between exposure and the onset of symptoms may Render determining the cause difficult. For example, some chemicals used as pesticides May mimic hormones (Sohoni and Sumpter 1998), and the same chemical may produce
Extremely diverse outcomes from carcinogenic effects to reduced fertility (Rhind 2002; Binelli and Provini 2003).
The WTO does not require the setting or use of international standards (Harlow 2004), But this is increasingly becoming the practice. The Codex recommendations should be Treated as a minimum rather than a maximum standard in food safety.
Animal protein used in feed is an excellent growth promoter, but feeding meat to
Herbivores can be a dangerous practice. The BSE epidemic in Britain commenced in the
1980s with the feeding to cattle of ruminant meat and bone meal containing material
From sheep infected with scrapie, a disease which is similar to BSE and that renders the
Sheep unfit for human consumption. Although initially centred in Britain, a lack of
Caution in international trade ensured that BSE risk has become geographically
Widespread. The feeding of ruminant meat and bone meal to cattle is now banned in the
UK and in most – but not all – of Europe (FSANZ 2002c). The degenerative disease
VCJD occurred in people as a result of BSE-infected beef products entering the food
Chain. Human-to-human transmission can also take place, for example, through donated
Blood products and surgical instruments.
Australia remains BSE-free due to its high standard of agricultural practice and use of
The precautionary principle in import risk assessment and strict quarantine regulations.
Since 1966 it has not imported any stock feed originating from animals except from
New Zealand (Animal Health Australia 2000). However, until the appearance of vCJD
In Britain and elsewhere, this ban would have been vulnerable to being ruled a
Restrictive trade practice had it been challenged under the WTO, because the risk to
Health was theoretical rather than specifiable at the outset. Similar bans on imports from
Some countries are still vulnerable under the WTO system of dispute settlement,
Wherever Australia’s regulations are more stringent than those of other countries. The
BSE/vCJD case serves as a warning; a practice that is internationally accepted can still
Would this be a reason why BSE is not fully tested in the USA because the USDA is going by what Codex wrote and that they determined the risk assessment to be low?
Codex also recommends that inspection should be cost-effective and based on risk
Allocation according to the production history and disease status of a region (Codex
Alimentarius Commission 1993a). If the risk for a particular disease or defect is low,
Then testing for it may not be cost-effective. The importance of safeguarding industry is
Thus highlighted by Codex; judgements should not impose unnecessary costs on
Industry (Codex Alimentarius Commission 1993a).
Posted by xstatic99645
at 12:32 PM YST
USDA Harmonizes cattle trade with Canada in line with International Animal Health Statandards
Topic: World Trade Agreements
The value of the Terrestrial Code is twofold: that the measures published in it are the result of consensus among the veterinary authorities of OIE Member Countries, and that it constitutes a reference within the World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures as an international standard for animal health and zoonoses.
Guidelines offer up-to-date information, flexibility
Because the OIE standards on BSE are guidelines, and not laws, countries have some flexibility in how they use them, Dr. Fernandez said. This has led to some disparities in how countries interpret the guidelines and whether they use them at all.
Terrestrial Animal Health Code 2007 - OIE
Read this very closely,
and animal traceability
are tools for addressing animal health (including zoonoses) and food safety issues. These tools may significantly improve the effectiveness of activities such as: the management of disease outbreaks
and food safety incidents, vaccination programmes, herd/flock husbandry, zoning/compartmentalisation, surveillance, early response and notification systems, animal movement controls, inspection, certification, fair practices in trade and the utilisation of veterinary drugs, feed and pesticides at farm level.
There is a strong relationship between animal identification and the traceability of animals and products of animal origin. (MY notes COOL equals Animal Origin)
Animal traceability and traceability of products of animal origin should have the capability to be linked to achieve traceability throughout the animal production and food chain taking into account relevant OIE and Codex Alimentarius standards.
The objective(s) of animal identification and animal traceability for a particular country, zone or compartment and the approach used should be clearly defined following an assessment of the risks to be addressed and a consideration of the factors listed below. They should be defined through consultation between the Veterinary Authority and relevant sectors/stakeholders prior to implementation, and periodically reviewed.
There are various factors which may determine the system chosen for animal identification and animal traceability. Factors such as the outcomes of the risk assessment, the animal and public health situation (including zoonoses) and related programmes, animal population parameters (such as species and breeds, numbers and distribution), types of production, animal movement patterns, available technologies, trade in animals and animal products, cost/benefit analysis and other economic, geographical and environmental considerations, and cultural aspects, should be taken into account when designing the system.
Animal identification and animal traceability should be under the responsibility of the Veterinary Authority. It is recognised that other Authorities may have jurisdiction over other aspects of the food chain, including the traceability of food.
The Veterinary Authority, with relevant governmental agencies and in consultation with the private sector, should establish a legal framework for the implementation and enforcement of animal identification and animal traceability in the country. In order to facilitate compatibility and consistency, relevant international standards and obligations should be taken into account. This legal framework should include elements such as the objectives, scope, organisational arrangements including the choice of technologies used for identification and registration, obligations of all the parties involved including third parties implementing traceability systems, confidentiality, accessibility issues and the efficient exchange of information.
Whatever the specific objectives of the chosen animal identification system and animal traceability, there is a series of common basic factors, and these must be considered before implementation, such as the legal framework, procedures, the Competent Authority, identification of establishments/owners, animal identification and animal movements.
The equivalent outcomes based on performance criteria rather than identical systems based on design criteria should be the basis for comparison of animal identification systems and animal traceability
If you're producing for the global market you must have a high quality beef product to sell. But to gain access to the market, you must be able to demonstrate traceability along with a concern for animal welfare. (My Note: Animal welfare is in the OIE recommendations)
Other countries, which don't yet have their own traceability systems fully in place and therefore can't, under WTO rules require it of other countries, will still prefer to purchase from sources that can demonstrate traceability. Dr.Smith cited Canada, Taiwan, some South American countries and most Arabian Gulf nations as examples of countries that are interested in traceability. He pointed out that not every single U.S. Producer will have to demonstrate traceability-only those in supply-chains that want to sell abroad.
But the sooner producers in the U.S. And around the world get on board with animal ID, the more options they will have to market their livestock. In other words, traceability is the key to international sales and market expansion. Animal ID will open doors for producers everywhere.
- In order to walk the talk with the USDA here is the General Definitions used . There are more here http://www.oie.int/Eng/normes/mcode/en_chapitre_1.1.1.htm#terme_identification_des_animaux
- Animal identification
- Means the combination of the identification and registration of an animal individually, with a unique identifier, or collectively by its epidemiological unit or group, with a unique group identifier.
- Animal traceability
- Means the ability to follow an animal or group of animals during all stages of its life.
- Risk assessment
- Means the evaluation of the likelihood and the biological and economic consequences of entry, establishment, or spread of a pathogenic agent within the territory of an importing country.
- Veterinary Authority
- Means the Governmental Authority of a Member Country, comprising veterinarians, other professionals and para-professionals, having the responsibility and competence for ensuring or supervising the implementation of animal health and welfare measures, international veterinary certification and other standards and guidelines in the Terrestrial Code in the whole country.
- Competent Authority
- Means the Veterinary Authority or other Governmental Authority of a Member Country having the responsibility and competence for ensuring or supervising the implementation of animal health and welfare measures, international veterinary certification and other standards and guidelines in the Terrestrial Code in the whole country.
- Means the premises in which animals are kept.
Posted by xstatic99645
at 10:33 AM YST
Topic: World Trade Agreements
This is what Traceability is all about to facilitate TRADE and that includes
the NAIS, The animal id program in Canada, in the EU, in Japan, ETC.
Page 11 of the GAO report.
With regard to equivalent food safety standards between countries, the
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures—
Entered into force with the establishment of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) on January 1, 1995—affirms that member countries are allowed to
Adopt and enforce measures necessary to protect human, animal, or plant
Life or health, provided, among other things, the measures are based and
Maintained on scientific principles and evidence, do not arbitrarily or
Unjustifiably discriminate among WTO members, and are not applied in a
Manner that would constitute a disguised restriction on international
Trade. In turn, member countries are expected to accept the sanitary or
Phytosanitary measures of other member countries as equivalent if the
Exporting member objectively demonstrates that its measures achieve the
Importing member's appropriate level of sanitary or phytosanitary
Protection. Members are encouraged to use relevant international
Standards and work toward harmonization—that is, the adoption of
Common sanitary or phytosanitary measures—to facilitate trade.
Consistent with the principles of the sanitary and phytosanitary
Agreement, many countries use equivalency agreements to certify that
Their food safety systems are equivalent to those of the country importing
Products. All countries in our review are parties to the WTO and to the
Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
Posted by xstatic99645
at 9:03 AM YST
Topic: World Trade Agreements
Science to Practice
Precision Management Systems
Precision Mating systems
Genome-enabled Animal Selection
I then did a search using this: Blueprint for USDA Efforts in Agricultural animal Genomics 2008-2017 and this caught my eye which is a MUST READ!
The OIE is emerging as the dominant global decision-making entity regarding animal welfare (not rights) issues. The USA, through the USDA/APHIS continues to participate in these discussions to ensure that opinions of our industries and all stakeholders are heard.
We will also look at existing attitudes of consumers, the impact of proposed animal welfare standards and of biotechnogly, and animal welfare considerations of outsourcing food animal production.
Posted by xstatic99645
at 9:00 AM YST
Topic: World Trade Agreements
WTO is a direct attack on our sovereignty because it claims it can force us
to change our laws to comply with WTO rulings. Article XVI, paragraph 4,
states: "Each Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations,
and administrative procedures with its obligations." The WTO has the final
say about whether U.S. laws meet WTO requirements.
Posted by xstatic99645
at 2:58 PM YST