WTO, Quality & Quality Improvements – Pros & Cons and Actions Needed in Pakistan

Prof. Dr. Anwar F. Chishti

Year:    2004
Category:   WTO
Source:   ICQI 2004 – Pakistan 8th International Convention on Quality Improvement, Lahore
Publisher:   PIQC Institute of Quality

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Author’ Introduction:   

Prof. Dr. Anwar F. Chishti has completed Ph.D and MS in (Agricultural Economics) from University of Illinois, USA and MA (Agricultureal Economics) from Agriculture University, Peshawar. He has vast experience in teaching agricultural subjects and now a days working as Vice Chancellor in City University of Science & Technology, Peshawar.


Two of the WTO agreements, SPS & TBT, deal with sanitary and phytosanitary (S&P) measures, which authorize member countries to protect human, animal and plant life and health from risks arising from additives/contaminants/toxins, disease-causing organisms in foods/feeds; from diseases carried by animals, plants or products thereof; and from risks and damages arising from the entry, establishment or spread of pests, diseases, disease-carrying organisms or diseasecausing organisms. These agreements also make it obligatory on WTO member countries to ensure that such S&P measures are based on scientific principles and applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life/health. The agreements further suggest that, to harmonize S&P measures on international level, member countries base such measures on international standards, guidelines or recommendations, established by international organizations.
Since the inception of WTO regime in January 1995, a number of WTO member countries have adopted S&P measures based on SPS & TBT agreements and, as a consequence, the countries who have lagged behind in implementation of such measures are increasingly facing problems for their exports; Pakistan, being a country belonging to the latter category, has faced threats of rejection of her exports on several occasions during the recent past.
To remedy the situation, Pakistani experts responsible for quality need to consult United Nation’s Codex Alimentarious Commision (CAC), International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and International Office of Epizootics (OIE), which establish standards, guidelines and recommendations for plant and animal health. These international organizations are there to assist in provision of information on food products’ standards, pesticides and veterinary drugs MRLs, ADIs prescribed for food additives, methods of analysis and sampling, codes and guidelines of hygienic practices and packaging & labeling requirements. For quality conc erns other than ones covered by the above stated organizations, other international organizations, which are open to all WTO member countries, may be approached. Similarly, the US, EU, Japan and a number of other developed OECD member countries have developed and adopted some more sophisticated measures to deal with quality concerns; such measure will have to be taken care of while adopting and improving quality standards in Pakistan. Packing and labelling also need special attention, and individual developed countries may have their own packaging and labelling requirements, which need to be studied and adopted while doing trade with such countries.