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OIE and WTO Bond Tightens for Health

by the Fish Site Editor
20 March 2009, at 12:00am

GLOBE - During a visit by Mr Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to the OIE Headquarters in Paris, the leaders of the two organisations further emphasised the benefits to the international community of the animal health standards published by the OIE.

Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE, stated that “a large majority of the standards adopted by OIE Member Countries and Territories are designed to prevent sanitary risks linked with the world trade in animals and animal products. This trade is indispensable, especially to supply the poorest countries with animal protein, including in times of crisis. Yet compliance with OIE standards also results in the improvement of veterinary health governance in each Member country and territory, and in so doing improves animal health and welfare throughout the world, while at the same time improving public health by preventing and controlling animal diseases transmissible to humans.”

The two organisations also raised the need for joint discussions on how to avoid the potential disadvantages arising from the use of “private” standards relating to sanitary risks, since such standards have not been adopted within the framework of the SPS Agreement and may contradict existing public standards democratically adopted by the OIE and the Codex Alimentarius Commission in a fully transparent procedure and based on scientific evidence.

The OIE also referred to its standard-setting work in the field of animal welfare and the rise in stricter consumer demands in this respect in all countries of the world.

In the field of improving the competencies of stakeholders in all countries of the world on international sanitary rules applicable to trade, the WTO and the OIE reaffirmed their commitment to the Doha Declaration issued by the WTO, OIE, WHO, the World Bank and FAO, and to the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) to help developing countries fulfil the requirements of the SPS Agreement.

“The value of the WTO organising information and training seminars in all regions with the OIE for the benefit of Veterinary Service officials, and especially those in charge of sanitary certification of animals and animal products for export, is now a well established fact. These seminars should be continued, along with the allocation of STDF grants aimed at facilitating the preparation of national or regional projects to strengthen the sanitary safety of international trade and market access opportunities for all those that so wish”, declared Pascal Lamy.

Lastly, the two organisations reiterated their shared interest in strengthening collaboration in order to facilitate the settlement of sanitary disputes, notably by making more frequent use of the OIE mediation procedure.

the Fish Site Editor