- Research Handbooks on the WTO series
Edited by Geert Van Calster and Denise Prévost
Chapter 22: The impact of sanitary and phytosanitary measures on India’s exports and the challenges/opportunities of the SPS Agreement
Over the recent past, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues have assumed an increasing significance in the context of international trade. This may be attributable to several factors. On the one hand, there has been a significant increase in trade in fresh, semi-processed and ready-to-eat food since the 1990s, led by the demand in developed countries. On the other, enhanced scientific understanding, coupled with growing public awareness and concern about food safety and health has resulted in an ever-increasing preference for safe and hygienic food, particularly in the developed countries. While these countries have responded to such preferences by putting in place ever stricter SPS regulations and standards, these requirements have often acted as significant market access barriers for exports from developing countries. In fact, SPS requirements are widely considered by developing countries as one of the greatest impediments confronting their exports of agricultural and food products, particularly to the developed countries. This may be attributable, in large measure, to the fact that developed countries typically apply stricter SPS measures than developing countries and that SPS controls in many developing countries are weak and overly fragmented.
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