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Complying with SPS standards to boost LDCs' trading capacity

13 April 2016


During the Seventy-Seventh session of the Sub-Committee on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) held today, the joint study by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) and the EIF on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) issues in the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) reports was presented. The study analyzed the coverage of SPS needs in over 30 DTIS reports and wider EIF processes. It identified some good practices, lessons and developed recommendations to improve the analysis on SPS issues in the DTIS process, enhance capacity to implement SPS-related recommendations and promote synergies between EIF‑ and SPS-related processes. A briefing note on "Enhancing Sanitary and Phytosanitary Capacity to Promote Trade for Development in Least Developed Countries" was also made available.


On behalf of the Executive Secretariat for the EIF, Mr Simon Hess briefed the WTO Members that the study took an in-depth look at 30 DTIS analytics in 20 EIF Countries. "The EIF funds 27 agribusiness projects with a value of US$53 million, with 10 of the 20 focus countries implementing agribusiness/standards‑related projects funded by the EIF, including projects on horticulture in Lesotho, on ginger in Nepal and on standards in Burundi, among others." he said. He noted that the analysis shows that SPS issues are included in almost all DTISs, although the degree of comprehensiveness varies. Furthermore, there was a positive trend with improved SPS analysis in the more recent DTIS Updates.


The study also shows that the manner in which SPS issues are addressed differs with 11 DTISs including a distinct chapter or section on SPS. However, SPS issues are also addressed in Trade Facilitation, Non-Tariff Barriers, sectoral and value chain sections. The report highlights systematic gaps in the coverage of fish health, backward tourism linkages and export certification; need for focus on regional SPS policy, cooperation and linkages; and policy coherence with national-level agricultural, industrial or other development and investment strategies. Ms Kenza Le Mentec from the STDF Secretariat, while introducing the study highlighted that non-tariff measures were the most significant challenges to the agricultural export potential of LDCs, and called to improve SPS coverage in the EIF‑funded trade analytical studies, the DTIS, to strengthen SPS analysis.


Key recommendations were categorised into three clusters, with some pertinent recommendations amongst others including the need to combine horizontal and vertical analysis of SPS issues; to link to existing SPS‑related institutions and analysis; involve SPS stakeholders more effectively at the national level; development of SPS Action Plans to complement the DTIS Action Matrix and clearer guidance from the EIF on how to tackle SPS issues in DTISs.


The delegations from Bangladesh, Chinese Taipei, Haiti and Tanzania welcomed the study and highlighted the importance of building SPS capacity to promote trade development in LDCs. Concluding the session, the Netherlands Ambassador and Chair of the Sub-Committee on LDCs, H.E. Mr Roderick Van Schreven noted that the study would help LDCs to address SPS issues in the EIF process. He also emphasized that the study would serve to help LDCs to identify and address SPS‑related constraints in their analytical work with support from the STDF and the EIF.


Read the briefing note


Notes to the editors:

The EIF is a multi-donor trust fund, which provides financial and technical support to build trade capacity in all 48 LDCs and three graduated countries. The EIF programme administratively housed within the WTO is the only global Aid for Trade programme exclusively designed for the LDCs and is, therefore, uniquely placed to assist countries to develop sustainable trade strategies, which have a positive impact on people's lives through the promotion of private sector development and job and income opportunities.


The STDF is a global partnership established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).