Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement under the World Trade Organization (WTO) focuses on how governments can apply SPS measures and regulations to ensure plant health, animal health and food and feed safety.
SPS measures are now one of the key factors dictating safety considerations and market access for agricultural commodities.
Article 108 (c) of the Treaty and Article 38 (1C) of the Customs Union Protocol provide for Partner States to harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures in order to facilitate trade within the community and other trading partners.
With support from USAID Kenya and East Africa and the European Union Smartfish project, EAC has developed SPS instruments aimed at strengthening capacities of Partner States to enforce SPS measures, ensure food and feed safety and enhance competitiveness of agricultural commodities traded within and beyond the region.
EAC SPS Protocol
In 2013, EAC Partner States adopted the EAC SPS Protocol. The principal objective of the Protocol is to enforce sanitary and phytosanitary measures, standards and promote intra- and inter-regional trade. In laying the foundation for effective implementation and enforcement of the Protocol, a number of key instruments have been developed including the following.
- The SPS measures and procedures for fish and fisheries, phytosanitary measures and procedures for plants, food and feed safety measures were developed and adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2016
- A draft SPS Bill has been adopted by the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security and is awaiting enactment by the East African Legislative Assembly. It will provide a legal framework for enforcement of EAC SPS measures and instruments.
- Harmonized SPS regulations and Standard Operating Procedures required to facilitate implementation of SPS Bill have been developed.
The SPS Protocol has been ratified/acceded to by Rwanda (April 2014), Kenya (June 2016), South Sudan (October 2016), Uganda (May 2017), Burundi (July 2017), and the United Republic of Tanzania (September 2021).
The ratification of the SPS protocol by all Partner States paves way for the implementation and domestication of various instruments developed under the Protocol.
SPS Information Sharing Platform
Development of the SPS Information Sharing Platform (SPS-IP) is currently being supported by Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA).
The SPS-IP will enable electronic sharing and access of trade documents such as Phytosanitary and import permits issued from the country of origin to the country of destination in a manner that will eventually eliminate the need for traders to present paper documents at points of entry, transit or exit in the EAC.
The platform will keep records of origin and destination of consignments/goods within the EAC region. This will include the exporter and importer information hence improving accountability of the process.