3. This agreement does not infringe on members` rights under other international instruments, including the right to use good offices or dispute resolution mechanisms of other international organizations or that have been established under an international agreement. One of the provisions of the SPS agreement is the obligation for members to facilitate the provision of technical assistance to developing countries, either through relevant international organizations or at the bilateral level. FAO, OIE and WHO have implemented important food, animal and plant security assistance programmes to developing countries. A number of countries also have important bilateral programmes with other WTO members in these areas. The WTO secretariat has organised a programme of regional seminars to provide developing countries (and Central and Eastern European countries) with detailed information on the rights and obligations conferred on them by this agreement. These seminars are organized in collaboration with Codex, OIE and IPPC to ensure that governments are aware of the role these organizations can play in helping countries meet their needs and to take full advantage of the benefits of the SPS agreement. The seminars are open to the participation of private professional associations and consumer organisations. The WTO secretariat also provides technical assistance through national workshops and governments through their representatives in Geneva. The return to environmental protection measures (other than those defined above), to the protection of consumer interests or to animal welfare are not covered by the SPS agreement. However, these concerns are addressed by other WTO agreements (i.e. the OBT agreement or Article XX of the 1994 GATT). The agreement also contains a code of conduct for governments and non-governmental or industrial authorities to prepare, adopt and implement voluntary standards.
The code, which is enforced by more than 200 standards bodies, states that the procedures used to determine whether a product meets applicable standards must be fair. The agreement also encourages countries to recognize the other party`s procedures in order to determine whether a product is compliant. Without recognition, products may need to be tested twice, first by the exporting country and then by the importing country. Technical barriers to CTA trade covered by the WTO agreement on technical barriers to trade. References to the previous GATT agreement with the same name are referred to as “1979” TBT agreements. The SPS Committee verifies compliance with the agreement, examines issues that may have an impact on trade, and maintains close cooperation with the technical organizations involved. In a trade dispute over a health or plant health measure, the usual WTO dispute resolution procedures are applied and opinions can be sought from appropriate scientific experts.