WTO 12th Ministerial Conference Postponed, SPS Annual Report Published

By guest web editor, Jacinta Mwau, Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC)

The WTO General Council postponed the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) indefinitely. Although there are reports stating that the meeting may take place in March 2022 if the global situation allows, it is important not to lose sight of WTO Committees activities and their value to global rules-based trade.


The MC12 annual report of the SPS Committee has outlined work priorities including approval procedures, avoiding undue delays that impede trade, National SPS Coordination Mechanisms, recognition of "positive uptake on the use of ePhyto and temporary acceptance of electronic copies" of SPS certificates.

The report recognizes that pesticide policies and Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) represented a significant proportion of Specific Trade Concerns (STCs) raised in the Committee, Risk Assessment, Risk Management and Risk Communication. It highlights 2022 thematic sessions (Trade Facilitative Approaches to Pesticide MRLs; Use of Remote Audit and Verification in Regulatory Frameworks; International Standards and Best Practices in Pest Risk Identification, Assessment and Management; and Transparency.