Under the transparency provisions of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS agreement), Australia is required to have a National Enquiry Point (NEP), and a National Notification Authority (NNA) (Annex B, paragraph 3 and 10) with the responsibilities of receiving enquiries on Australia’s SPS measures and notifying the WTO on its measures.
The Australian Government combines the two functions and responsibilities into one administrative position, the ‘SPS contact point’, which is located in the Department of Agriculture. In addition to its obligations set out in the SPS agreement, Australia’s SPS contact point distributes all SPS notifications to interested stakeholders, and liaises closely with interested stakeholders when a comment on a notification is required. To receive notifications from Australia’s SPS contact point, simply subscribe through the department’s subscription page.
Similar to the SPS agreement, the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT agreement) requires a NNA and a NEP (article 10.10). The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has responsibility for these functions. However, the Department of Agriculture distributes TBT notifications specific to the agriculture portfolio to interested stakeholders and helps compile comments on these notifications if required. To receive these notifications, simply subscribe through the department’s subscription page. For further information, see the department’s page on TBTs.
SPS measures cover border control measures necessary to protect ‘human, animal or plant life or health’; this includes quarantine and biosecurity measures. TBTs cover other impediments to trade resulting from the existence of standards and conformity assessment systems; this includes standards for food packaging and labelling, agriculture and veterinary chemicals, animal welfare, fisheries and forestry.
Australia’s SPS notifications
Australia’s biosecurity measures to facilitate trade and protect human, animal or plant life or health are under constant development. Australia’s SPS contact point provides SPS notifications to the WTO to inform other WTO members of proposals on new or changed biosecurity measures that may have a significant effect on trade.
To find SPS notifications submitted by Australia simply:
- go to the WTO’s SPS webpage
- scroll to ‘actual notifications’
- choose Australia and the year from the drop down boxes
- click search.
Other countries’ SPS notifications
All WTO members are required to inform one another of new SPS measures or changes to their SPS measures that have a significant effect on trade. This can be done by providing details of the measure in a notification to the WTO, which is then uploaded to the WTO website. You can search for existing notifications using the WTO’s Documents Online webpage or the SPS Information Management System.
Australia’s SPS contact point collates a daily list of new SPS notifications from the WTO website and sends an email to stakeholders. To receive this email simply subscribe through the department’s subscription page.
The Department of Agriculture also periodically sends emails of TBT notifications relating to food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry. You can also receive this email by subscribing through the department’s subscription page.
Australian SPS contact point
Trade and Market Access Division
Department of Agriculture
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Email: SPS Contact
The Department of Agriculture has further information on: