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The World Trade Organization Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement)



The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the “SPS Agreement”) entered into force with the establishment of the World Trade Organization on 1 January, 1995. It concerns the application of food safety and animal and plant health regulations.

The SPS Agreement, to which all WTO Members are parties, recognizes that countries have the right to adopt regulations to protect human, animal, or plant life or health - including food safety regulations and measures to protect domestic crops, livestock, and poultry.

The SPS Agreement establishes a number of general requirements and procedures to ensure that governments adopt and apply SPS measures to protect against real risks. The SPS Agreement also encourages harmonization of SPS measures among WTO Members.

The SPS Agreement applies only to those governmental measures that may directly or indirectly affect international trade. The Agreement defines SPS measures as any measure that a WTO Member applies:

  • to protect animal or plant life or health within the territory of the Member from risks arising from the entry, spread of pests, diseases or disease-carrying organisms;
  • to protect human or animal life or health within the territory of the Member from risks arising from additives, contaminants, toxins, or disease-causing organisms in foods, beverages or feedstuffs;
  • to prevent or limit other damage within the territory of the Member from the introduction or spread of pests.

Exercise 7. Find the English equivalents for:

соглашение ВТО по применению санитарных и фитосанитарных мер; применение мер для защиты людей, животных или растений; принять соглашение; торговая ассоциация; влиять на международную торговлю; частная компания; распространение болезней; напитки; продукты питания; пищевые добавки; вредители; поощрять; общие требования; вступать в силу.

Exercise 8.Translate into Russian.

Endangered species of wildlife and products made from them such as tortoise, shell jewellery, leather goods, articles made from whalebone, ivory, skins, or furs, are prohibited from being imported or exported.

Exercise 9.Translate into English.

1. Применение санитарных и фитосанитарных норм не должно оказывать негативного воздействия на торговлю.

2. Санитарные и фитосанитарные меры применяются на основе двусторонних соглашений.

3. Санитарные и фитосанитарные меры необходимы для защиты жизни или здоровья людей, животных или растений.

4. Санитарные или фитосанитарные меры согласуются с международными стандартами.

5. Комитет по санитарным и фитосанитарным мерам разрабатывает процедуру наблюдения за процессом международной гармонизации.

Exercise 10.Read Text 3 and write an essay on phytosanitary requirements specific to Russia.

Text 3*

Russia’s SPS standards

Russia’s SPS standards are extremely prescriptive with detailed requirements for facilities and production processes. Russia has attempted to impose these requirements on trading partners by accepting imports only from facilities that are certified as complying with Russian requirements.

This has created difficulties for U.S. exporters of a range of products, including dairy, feed, and pet food.

Overall, Russia’s application of unwarranted SPS measures has had a significant negative effect on U.S. exports. The entry into force of the proposed Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus Customs Union could further complicate these matters as it is the three countries’ intention to harmonize their SPS measures. The three countries have stated they will produce harmonized SPS standards by April 1, 2010 for implementation by July 1, 2010.

U.S. exporters face systemic issues in Russia related to the certification of agricultural products. For example, Russia requires phytosanitary certificates for shipments of processed products like soybean proteins, corn gluten and distiller’s grain.

Russia requests certification that the United States is free from various livestock diseases. With regard to export certificates for milk and milk products, Russia has asked for U.S. Government verification of the Russian port of entry, identification marks, and the absence of Salmonella and other bacterial disease agents.

In November 2006, the United States and Russia signed a number of bilateral agreements to address SPS issues related to the trade in pork; the certification of pork and poultry facilities for exporting products to Russia; trade in beef and beef by-products; and trade in products of agricultural biotechnology. There have been implementation problems with several of these agreements, however.

Russia banned the importation and sale of chlorine-treated chicken on January 1, 2010, which essentially halted all imports of U.S. poultry. Russian regulations also place an upper limit on the amount of water content in chilled and frozen chicken.

In addition, the Russian government has issued a resolution banning the importation and sale of poultry that has been frozen for more than three months and is intended for further processing into food intended for use in baby food and special diets.

In 2011, the ban will extend to all further processing of poultry that has been frozen for more than three months. Negotiations on these issues are ongoing.

Exports of U.S. grain and oilseed products are severely limited due to Russia’s requirement for veterinary certificates for many grains and seeds certifying that these plant products are free of animal diseases.

The United States maintains that this certification is unnecessary as these products do not pose any animal health risks. As a result, to date the United States has not agreed to provide certificates for grains, soybeans, soybean meal and animal feeds of plant origin and Russia permits imports of these products only on a case-by-case basis.

Exercise 11. Give the general idea of the texts above.

Exercise 12.Read Text 4 to give the English equivalents for:

вымирающие виды животных; перевозчик; насекомые; инфекционные заболевания, передающиеся человеку; домашние животные; продукты животного происхождения; нарушать законы других государств; черепахи; ввозить беспошлинно; подходящие клетки; кормление; обеспечение питьем; справка о прививке против бешенства; подпись лицензированного ветеринарного врача.

 

Text 4

Veterinary Control

Transportation of animals, birds, live fish, insects and products of animal origin is under the inspection of the Veterinary Control. There are restrictions and prohibitions on bringing many species into the United States. Endangered species of wildlife, and products made from them, generally may not be imported or exported. The federal government does not allow you to import into the country wild animals that were taken, killed, sold, possessed, or exported from another country if any of these acts violated foreign laws.

Trophies may also be subject to inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for sanitary purposes.

Dogs, cats and turtles can be brought into the country/into the US duty free.

Pets brought in country must be examined for possible evidence of diseases communicable to man.

All birds and animals must be imported under humane and healthful conditions. Customs Regulation requires that careful arrangements be made with the carrier for suitable cages, space, ventilation and protection from the elements. Clearing, feeding, watering and other necessary service must be provided.

Dogs must be accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate. This document should identify the dog, show the date of vaccination and specify the date it expires, and should bear the signature of a licensed veterinarian. Dogs older than three months must get a rabies vaccination at least 30 days before they come to the United States.

Cats must be free of evidence of diseases communicable to humans when they are examined at the port of entry. If the cat does not seem to be in good health, the owner may have to pay for an additional examination by a licensed veterinarian.

The inspector at the Veterinary Control must check certificates of vaccination, permits from a country of export and arrange an additional examination by a licensed veterinarian in case of necessity.

Exercise 13. Comprehension questions:

1. What does the Veterinary Control inspect?

2. Which animals are prohibited to enter by law?

3. Which pets are exempt from duty?

4. Why is it necessary to examine imported animals on entry to the country?

5. What are the requirements concerning the conditions under which pets are imported into the U.S.?

6. What must the inspector at the Veterinary Control check?

Exercise 14. Rewrite the sentences below translating the Russian parts into English:

1. There are ограничения и запреты на ввоз many species into the United States.

2. Вымирающие виды животных, and products made from them, generally may not be imported or exported.

3. All birds and animals must be imported under все необходимые условия.

4. Customs Regulation requires that careful arrangements be made with the перевозчик for подходящие клетки, space, ventilation and защита от неблагоприятных погодных условий.

5. Transportation of animals, birds, live fish, насекомые and products of animal origin is under the контроль Ветеринарной службы.

6. Pets brought into the U.S. must be examined for возможность перенесения в страну инфекционных заболеваний, передающихся человеку.

7. Dogs must be accompanied by a valid справка о прививке против бешенства.

Exercise 15.Read Text 5 to answer the questions:

1. When was the Phoenix Fund established?

2. What is its mission?

3. What did Phoenix develop?

4. What is the aim of the Customs officers’ activities?

5. What organizations support the Fund?

Text 5





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