Comparing EU free trade agreements: Sanitary and phytosanitary standards

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    The aim of this InBrief series is to provide a synthesis of various chapters of the ten free trade agreements (FTAs) recently concluded by the European Union with developing countries, as well as other relevant trade agreements when appropriate. Each InBrief offers a detailed and schematic overview of a specific set of trade and trade-related provisions in these agreements. 

    Sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) are receiving increasing attention within the framework of international trade. SPS measures are meant to ensure that imports do not undermine national health and safety. However, restrictions designed to uphold domestic safety standards can be misused as disguised protectionism. This risk has gained importance because tariffs as traditional measures of protection are covered by World Trade Organization (WTO) reduction commitments. Against this background, international agreements on SPS aim to balance the targets of granting nations free choice of their national level of safety protection and facilitating fair market access.

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