The WTO is an intergovernmental organization and only governments, not private or non-governmental organizations, can file trade disputes as part of WTO dispute settlement procedures. It goes without saying that NGOs can make their governments aware of trade problems and encourage the government to address them, if necessary, through the WTO. Although in the 47 years of the previous GATT dispute resolution procedures, only one body has been sought to review health or plant health disputes, ten complaints about the new obligations were formally filed in the first three years of the SPS agreement. This is not surprising, because, for the first time, the agreement clarifies the basis for challenging health or plant health measures that limit trade and which may not be scientifically justified. The challenges included issues as varied as inspection and quarantine procedures, outbreaks, use-by data, the use of veterinary drugs in livestock, and disinfection treatments for beverages. Dispute resolution bodies were invited to review four of the complaints; other complaints have been or should be resolved after the mandatory bilateral consultation process. (2) In the event of a dispute in this agreement on scientific or technical matters, a panel of experts should be consulted in consultation with the parties to the dispute. To this end, the proceeding may, if deemed useful, establish an advisory group of technical experts or consult with relevant international organizations at the request of one of the parties to the dispute or its own origin. No, the SPS agreement allows countries to prioritize food security, animal health rather than trade, provided there is a demonstrable scientific basis for their food safety and health requirements. Each country has the right to determine the level of food and animal and plant health that it deems appropriate, based on an assessment of the risks associated with it. 6.
The Committee, on the initiative of one of the members, may, by appropriate means, ask the relevant international organisations or their subsidiary bodies to consider specific issues relating to a specific standard, directive or recommendation, including the basis of explanatory notes on non-use covered in paragraph 4. The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on the application of health and plant health measures (SPS) aims to guarantee the right of governments to protect food security, plant health and animal health and to prevent these health and plant health measures from being unjustified barriers to trade. An acceptable level of risk can often be achieved in another way. Among the alternatives, assuming that they are technically and economically feasible and offer the same level of food security or animal and plant health, governments should choose those that are no more restrictive than those necessary to achieve their health objective. If another country is able to demonstrate that the measures it applies offer the same level of health protection, they should be considered equivalent. This helps maintain protection while ensuring the largest quantity and variety of safe food for consumers, the better availability of safe inputs for producers and healthy economic competition.