All governments of WTO member states must have an investigative body, an office to counter and respond to requests for information on the health and plant health measures of these countries. These requests may be copies of new or existing regulations, information on relevant agreements between two countries, or information on risk assessment decisions. The addresses of the application points can be found here. 3. Members may adopt or maintain health or plant health measures that lead to a higher level of health protection than would be achieved by measures based on relevant international standards, guidelines or recommendations, if there is a scientific justification, or as a result of the level of health or plant health protection that a member deems appropriate in accordance with the relevant provisions of paragraphs 1 to 8 of Article 5. 2. Notwithstanding the above, any measure leading to a level of health or plant health protection other than measures based on international standards, guidelines or recommendations must not be inconsistent with other provisions of this agreement. The agreement on the application of health and plant health measures, also known as the SPS agreement or simply SPS, is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and came into force with the creation of the WTO in early 1995. [1] Overall, the health and plant health measures (“SPS”) covered by the agreement are those aimed at protecting life, the animal or the plant or human or plant health from certain risks.

[2] The SPS agreement reflects the precautionary principle, a principle that allows them to act as a precaution in the absence of scientific certainty about potential risks to human health and the environment. Under Article 5.7, members who adopt interim measures are required to obtain additional information on potential risks and to review the measure “within a reasonable time.” Japan`s appeal body – the agricultural products measures, said that the duration of a “reasonable period of time” must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. [15] Under the SPS rules, the burden of proof rests with the complaining country to demonstrate that a measure is contrary to sections 2.2 and 5.1 to 5.8 before it can be regulated,[16] when the scientific evidence can never be conclusive and it is not possible to examine all the health risks that might result from the importation of a particular product. [17] The SPS agreement established a committee on health and plant health measures (the “SPS Committee”) to provide a forum for consultation on food security measures or health measures affecting trade and on the implementation of the SPS agreement.