ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
The scope and requirements of food safety (SPS) measures is increasingly replacing tariff barriers as the main concern of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries seeking to export to the European Union (EU). The ACP countries are beneficiaries of preferential access to the EU market under the Cotonou Agreement and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), in particular the Everything-But-Arms (EBA) initiative for least developed countries (LDCs). However, they find the increasing coverage and sophistication of many of these SPS measures are preventing them from gaining maximum advantage from such arrangements.The primary reason for this is the inadequate level of human, financial and technical resources that ACP countries can provide to satisfy EU importers that all food exported meets the level of safety required by these SPS measures. The increased presence of SPS on the international trade scene has been driven by the increasing awareness and concern for food safety among European consumers about the presence of chemicals and various food additives in their food. This has been exacerbated by several food alarms (e.g. BSE, Avian flu, etc.) and to a certain extent by the resultant European Commission (EC) action to tighten up and harmonise an EU food safety regime that had developed in a piecemeal fashion over 40 years.