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17 countries sign statement regarding pesticide use

TiSanti/Thinkstock farmer-spraying-pesticides-TiSanti-Thinkstock
Statement circulated at WTO Ministerial Conference.

The delegations of the United States, Uganda and Kenya are circulating a statement at the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires that calls on all members “to strengthen the implementation of the WTO SPS (Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) Agreement by reinforcing the work of relevant international standards organizations and ensuring the scientific basis of SPS measures is sound.”

The statement focuses on pesticide use and its impact on international trade of food and agricultural products.

The statement, which is signed by representatives of 17 countries, reads: “We support the voluntary actions by Members put forward by Kenya, Uganda and the United States to increase the capacity and efficiency of Codex in setting international standards on pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs); to improve transparency and predictability in Members' setting of national MRLs; to achieve greater harmonization across national and regional MRLs; and, to enable greater access to alternative pesticides and pesticides for minor-use crops, particularly in developing countries.” 

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue praised the statement, saying, “the development of sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) that are grounded in science is critical to protecting human and environmental health, facilitating trade and enabling agricultural producers to meet the challenge of feeding a growing global population. With this statement, we take a step further in that direction. 

“We look forward to continued collaboration with the WTO SPS Committee, the Codex Alimentarius Commission and other partners to establish international residue standards that enable the safe use of pesticides and, at the same time, facilitate trade in food and agricultural products.”

Countries signing the statement:

  1. Brazil
  2. Canada
  3. Uruguay
  4. Costa Rica
  5. Colombia
  6. Madagascar
  7. Panama
  8. Dominican Republic
  9. Peru
  10. Chile
  11. Kenya
  12. Uganda
  13. Argentina
  14. Japan
  15. Guatemala
  16. Paraguay
  17. United States

What others are saying about the meeting:

The U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight thanked the U.S. Trade Representative for defending U.S. ag and food interests.

"In particular, the efforts to provide loopholes on domestic price support programs associated with public stockholding programs for food security purposes pose significant trade distortions,” Sleight said. “Without resolving the trade-distorting impacts of these policies, it is impossible to support addressing reforms in overall domestic supports.

"The Council strongly supports trade liberalization to help global agriculture collectively address challenges of food security and eradication of poverty by 2050. We can only accomplish those goals if we have an international trade forum to establish disciplines on market access, trade distorting policies and non-tariff barriers.”

Source: USDA, WTO

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