JAKARTA, 23 February 2018 – Around 48 officials from relevant agencies in ASEAN Member States (AMS), Australia and New Zealand dealing with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and ASEAN Secretariat officers attended the Workshop on ASEAN Regional Guideline for Implementation of International Standards Related to SPS Measures in Jakarta on 21-22 February 2018.

In his opening remarks, Director Tran Dong Phuong of the Sectoral Development Directorate of the ASEAN Secretariat emphasised the significance of the workshop as an important step in shaping a draft regional guideline. He also underlined that addressing common issues and challenges in agriculture and forestry could provide the foundation for future cooperation and enhancing ASEAN access to global markets.

The workshop aimed to gather inputs from AMS on the draft review report on implementation of international standards, deliberate on key issues in developing SPS measures and share information and experiences of AMS, Australia and New Zealand in applying international standards related to SPS.

During the workshop, participants were introduced to the SPS agreement and international standards from the World Organization on Animal Health (OIE), International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and Codex Alimentarius (Codex) or the collection of internationally adopted food standards. Through the break-out sessions, participants from AMS also shared the different challenges being encountered and possible recommendations on the application of these international standards and guidelines.

Mr. Muhammad Rudy Khairudin bin Mohd Noor, ASEAN Co-Chair of the Sub-Committee on SPS, highlighted,  “it is crucial that from this workshop we capture the real issues and challenges faced by AMS in implementing SPS measures based on international standards, so that we can identify not only the current situation but also the way forward.”

The workshop also included discussion on the roles of a regional guideline to support the implementation of international standards related to SPS by identifying its possible scope, methods or model of delivery and how it can address challenges identified by the AMS.

Dr. Ilona Stobutzki, Australia’s Co-Chair of the Sub-Committee on SPS, noted the importance of the workshop as an opportunity for ASEAN and its partners to foster implementation of international SPS guideline. “This is about enhancing regional trade in agri-food while managing biosecurity risks,” said Dr. Ilona. In addition, Ms. Ursula Egan, Specialist Adviser for Free Trade Area SPS Implementation and Coordination, Ministry of Primary Industries of New Zealand, emphasised the importance of developing and implementing national standards based on international standards and guidelines in facilitating trade among ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) parties. She also highlighted that this activity builds on the previous SPS co-operation projects to develop capacity amongst ASEAN officials on SPS measures.

The workshop was organised by ASEAN Secretariat with support from the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Program (AECSP).