IICA fosters international dialogue on U.S. trade policies related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures


Washington D.C., 3 December 2019 (IICA). The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) organized a roundtable discussion geared toward the international agrifood community based in Washington, D.C., to discuss the country’s trade policies on sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The event brought together 40 representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations. This is the third roundtable discussion that IICA has organized with the aim of fostering productive dialogue regarding the implications of sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) on trade.

“The discussion enables participants, most of whom are agricultural attachés abroad, to better understand U.S. trade policies,” stated Horrys Friaca, International Specialist in Agricultural Health and Food Safety (AHFS) at IICA.

“Based on the information shared, participants can better adapt their positions to successfully negotiate the opening up of markets for agricultural products in their countries,” he added.

The first roundtable discussion was carried out in December 2018 and focused on international requirements for importing products of animal origin. The second edition was held in July of this year, to discuss antimicrobial resistance and its impact on trade.

During the most recent event, high-level officials of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) engaged in an in-depth discussion of the country’s international agricultural trade agenda as well as bilateral and multilateral SPS negotiations.

The participants also shared their viewpoints regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and argued that science should serve as the foundation for the adoption of SPS measures in international trade.

Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the USTR, noted that the U.S. considers the adoption of new technologies to be its primary competitive advantage in this area, and encouraged his country’s trade partners to move in the same direction.

USTR senior officials Julie Callahan and Julia Doherty discussed U.S. trade priorities within the framework of Codex Alimentarius and the SPS Committee of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Robert Ahern, Manager of IICA’s AHFS Program, provided an overview of the SPS-related technical cooperation activities that the Institute carries out in countries across the region.

He also highlighted the fact that, together with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the USTR, IICA had brought together experts from 19 Latin American and Caribbean countries in mid October to discuss a joint strategy for ensuring that SPS measures applied in international food trade are based on science.

About IICAIICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.
More information:
Horrys Friaca, International Specialist in AHFS at the IICA Delegation in the United States.