NAFTA Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary
Measures to the Commission - June 21, 1996
The responsibilities of the NAFTA Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures are outlined in Article 722 of the Agreement. They include responsibility for facilitating:
- the enhancement of food safety and sanitary and phytosanitary conditions in the territories of the parties;
- the adoption of international standards in accordance with Article 713;
- the equivalence of SPS measures in accord with Article 714;
- technical cooperation; and,
- consultation on specific bilateral issues.
Since the entry into force of NAFTA on January 1, 1994, the NAFTA Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures has met on five separate occasions:
- March 24,1994 in Washington;
- October 6, 1994, in Washington;
- September 21, 1995, in Mexico City;
- February 14, 1996 in Mexico City;
- June 20, 1996, in Ottawa.
The minutes of these meetings (attached) provide a detailed account of the proceedings.
To date, the Committee's meetings have provided an opportunity for the parties to consult on and resolve a variety of bilateral issues.
Technical Working Group on Pesticides
The Pesticides Technical Working Group (TWG) was established in 1995 under Article 722 of NAFTA to address pesticide issues among Mexico, Canada and the United States. Although the primary reporting of the Pesticides TWG is to the SPS Committee, it could report to the NAFTA Committee on Standards-Related Measures for pesticide issues relating to that Committee. The inaugural meeting was held March 27-29, 1996, in Washington. The meeting provided an opportunity for the Parties to discuss the ongoing harmonization work on scientific and policy considerations for pesticide regulation, for example, the harmonization of MRLs and the pesticide registration activities. The next meeting is scheduled for November 1996 in Ottawa.
Forward Work Plan
In the upcoming year, the NAFTA Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures will focus on facilitating activities which should lead to a decrease in the number of potential trade irritants. The Committee will undertake to identify future areas for harmonization and areas where equivalency could be recognized. Priority will be given to the harmonization of tolerances for pesticides and for food additives, pesticide registration procedures and veterinary drug residue levels. The relationship between the SPS Committee and the existing bilateral and trilateral Working Groups will be formalized. The SPS Committee will consider the issue of trade in genetically modified material. The SPS Committee will continue to exchange information and to provide a forum for the discussion of bilateral issues.