The technical agreement to combat trade includes all technical rules, standards and optional procedures to ensure compliance, unless they are sanitary or plant health measures within the meaning of the SPS agreement. It is therefore the nature of the measure that determines whether it falls under the OBT agreement, but the purpose of the measure, which is relevant to determining whether a measure is subject to the SPS convention. 1. Members ensure that their health or plant health measures are based on an appropriate assessment of risks to human life or health, animal or plant, taking into account risk assessment techniques developed by relevant international organizations. 2. The committee encourages and facilitates ad hoc consultations or negotiations between members on specific health or plant health issues. The Committee encourages the use of international standards, guidelines or recommendations by all members and encourages consultations and technical studies to strengthen coordination and integration between international and national systems and approaches for authorizing the use of food additives or setting tolerances for contaminants in food, beverages or feed. When a government proposes (or amends) a new regulation that differs from an international standard and can affect trade, it must inform the WTO secretariat, which then sends the notification to other WTO member states (more than 700 such notifications were distributed in the first three years following the implementation of the SPS agreement). Entries are also available to the interested public and can be viewed here.
Notifications may also be requested from the country`s investigative body proposing the measure. 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.