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Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Delano Franklyn has stressed the importance of developing countries collaborating to improve the safety of plant,food, animal and human (Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary, SPS) measures for the greater good of the global community.
Declaring open a seminar on Phyto-sanitary control and agricultural policies at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston this morning, Minister Franklyn made the call for improving SPS measures after citing the outbreak of certain diseases such as Mad Cow disease, leptospyrosis in Jamaica, and Avian Influenza, which could be transmitted to humans. These diseases he said, had also made the ordinary citizen aware of how interconnected the world was.
Against this background, Minister Franklyn said the seminar was a useful opportunity for discussion and exchange of information especially as CARICOM moved towards the establishment of an effective regime of Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures through the setting up of a regional institution as advocated by Member-States in the Revised Treaty of Chagaramas.
According to the Minister, one of the problems faced by developing countries in strengthening Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary regimes at the national and regional levels, was the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement. This allowed the developed countries, such as Member States of the European Union to set the standards bar above the level of existing international standards.
“To access export markets, we have often had to meet not only international standards but also those higher standards established by developed trading partners. Indeed, many of the challenges faced by our exporters in overseas markets are already related to Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures.
In this regard, we remain challenged by our own inability to participate fully in the work of the international standard-setting bodies.”
Mr. Franklyn emphasised that as the technological gap widened between developed and developing countries, there was the need for technical and financial assistance to be provided to developing countries to aid them in strengthening their SPS regimes.
“This is required to fully implement the WTO Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Agreement, through not only the monitoring of exports but also the development of our import monitoring mechanisms and attaining and maintaining international standards on local farms and in private and public industries.”
Mr. Franklyn pointed out that Jamaica and CARICOM partners had been implementing these WTO rules for more than a decade. Jamaica had also begun the development of plant health surveillance and pest control mechanisms as well as a Plant health Coordinating Committee
Minister Franklyn noted that teamwork manifested through collaboration and cooperation, represented one of the most viable avenues for the developing world to achieve its Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary goals.
This seminar presents an opportunity to address our special needs through the exchange of best practices with our neighbours.”I am, indeed, heartened at the level of representation from the Caribbean.
“I therefore urge the participants to fully utilize the lessons learnt here for the development and reinforcement of Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures in the region through their respective agencies. What is acquired here, should also enhance our capacity to participate more effectively in trade negotiations.”
The four-day seminar is organized by the Chilean Agency for International cooperation, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the CARICOM Secretariat.