Facilitating Safe Trade

The increasing attention on trade facilitation as a means to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness has generated a renewed focus on SPS measures, how they are applied to imports, exports and transit goods, and the extent to which, if any, these measures unnecessarily increase the costs of doing business. Recent STDF work has sought to identify, analyse and foster dialogue on experiences, lessons and good practices to improve the implementation of SPS controls in way that facilitates safe trade, while minimizing transaction costs. The findings of this work also provide timely inputs to enhance the integration of SPS-related components in broader trade facilitation programmes.

STDF's film "Safe Trade Solutions" takes a look at what Chile, Peru and Colombia have done to make goods flow faster across their borders, while also preventing the spread of pests or diseases among animals and plants, and ensuring that food is safe for consumers. 

Policy Brief - Driving Safe Food Trade in the midst of a Food Crisis in Africa : A critical step for the success of the  AfCFTA - 2023

This Policy Brief is a joint product of the Food Trade Coalition for Africa (FTCA), and the STDF. It is based on experiences and lessons of work to build food safety, animal and plant health capacity that facilitates agri-food trade in Africa. 

Briefing - Facilitating safe trade: protecting health, reducing SPS trade costs

A number of good practices exist to improve the implementation of SPS measures in a way that facilitates safe trade. Several governments are already implementing a variety of these solutions in an effort to enable trade to flow more smoothly and quickly. This Briefing highlights some of these opportunities.

High-level dialogue during the 5th Aid for Trade Global Review - 2015

The STDF coordinated a high-level plenary session "Effective Implementation of SPS Measures to Facilitate Safe Trade", on 30 June 2015 during the 5th Aid for Trade Global Review. 

This plenary session brought together a diverse mix of panelists who debated on how trade facilitation can be married with robust, science-and risk-based SPS controls. The session was moderated by Keith Rockwell (Director, Information and External Relations, WTO) and included the following panelists:

  • Martha Byanyima, SPS Expert, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
  • Oscar Camacho Inostroza, Deputy-Director-General, Agricultural and Livestock Service of Chile
  • Chusak Chuenprayoth, President, Kamphaeng-Saen Commercial Co. Ltd, Thailand
  • Monique Eloit, Deputy Director-General and Director-General Elect, World Organisation for Animal Health
  • Anabel González, Senior Director, Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Mike Robach, Vice-President, Corporate Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory Programs, Cargill

A few highlights from the plenary session (and other sessions which looked at reducing trade costs) can be viewed here. The WTO website includes a podcast of the session, as well as a short film featuring some of the panellists.

More information on the 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade is available on the WTO website.

Selected practices and experiences in Malawi, South Africa and Zambia 

Learn more in this regional report

Principles and practice in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines and Thailand

The STDF commissioned research in selected countries in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and the Philippines) to examine how SPS controls are implemented in practice for selected agri-food products, based on the SPS Agreement, and the standards and guidelines of the international standard-setting bodies (Codex, OIE and IPPC) where applicable. This work aimed to identify experiences and good practices to improve the implementation of SPS controls in way that ensures health protection while, at the same time, keeping transaction costs as low as possible to facilitate trade. The findings of the research work in Southeast Asia, carried out by Kees van der Meer (STDF Consultant) from 2012-13, are documented in a regional report. Individual country reports summarizing the findings for each country are also available: CambodiaLao PDRThailand and the Philippines.

Thematic session on facilitating safe trade - 2014

The STDF held a thematic session entitled "Implementing SPS Measures to Facilitate Safe Trade" in Geneva on 26 March 2014, back-to-back with the WTO SPS Committee meetings. It provided an opportunity to hear about the preliminary findings and recommendations of three regional studies conducted in Africa, Asia and Latin America and to assess similarities and differences among them.

See the background note for further information as well as for the programme of the thematic session on 26 March 2014.

Presentations from the thematic session:

See also the WTO Secretariat background note on the relationship between the SPS Agreement and the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Information on the Trade Facilitation Agreement can be found on the WTO Trade Facilitation webpage. The website of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility is available here