The Regional Support Unit of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretariat, has organized a four-day regional training with the participation of all the eight SAARC Member States on ‘Enhancing Capacity for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for Safe Trade in Animal and Animal Products in South Asia’.
“About 35 participants of the SAARC countries as well as international SPS experts from Agencies like OIE, CABI, SARSO are participating in the training program that kicked off on 19 June 2017. The training aims at enhancing regional capacity among SAARC Member States for safe and enhanced trade in livestock and livestock products,” said FAO’s press release.
Welcoming the participants, Dr Somsak Pipoppinyo, FAO Representative in Nepal and Bhutan, expressed his confidence that the workshop would enhance hands-on-skills of the participants in SPS management and contribute to gain access to high-end markets.
Underlining the overall aim of the training, which is to provide a good opportunity to the Member States to understand the scope and obligations of SPS agreement associated with trade of livestock and livestock products, Dr Pipoppinyo expressed his hopes that the workshop would contribute to a more effective communication and promotion of dialogues among the key decision makers for regional trade.
MJH Jabed, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development at SAARC Secretariat, stressed the need for adopting SAARC standards developed by the South Asia Regional Standards Organization (SARSO), which, he said, is essential to develop regional capacity and induce meaningful change in the coming years in terms of successful implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)
Underlining that the national standards can differ from the relevant SAARC standards, he urged the Member States to notify each other about such differences along with the reasons.
Speaking as Chair, Dr Vijay Chandra Jha, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Livestock Services of the Government of Nepal, observed that member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are obliged to adhere to the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement), ensuring that such measures are adapted to the sanitary or phytosanitary characteristics of the area where the product originated from or destined to.
He said that Nepal, after having become a member of the WTO in April 2004, has set up a SPS National Enquiry Point at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control under the Ministry of Agricultural Development.
Highlighting the objectives and expected outcomes of the training, Dr Santanu Bandyopadhyay, FAO Regional Support Unit (RSU) Coordinator, reiterated that the participants will have an opportunity for an analytical overview of the harmonization principles, equivalence, protection, transparency and SPS measures under the SPS agreement.
All participants in group photo
Listening the program
Dr Somsak Pipoppinyo, FAO Representative in Nepal and Bhutan, addressing the program