FAO establishes IPPC Secretariat
Due to the establishment of the IPPC Secretariat, FAO has published a press release which outlines the scope and goals of the IPPC Secretariat. In words of the FAO statement:
FAO has established a Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to facilitate international trade, prevent the spread and introduction of plant pests to new areas and to promote control measures.
Quarantine measures can become barriers to trade and, therefore, should only be applied if they can be technically justified. The Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in the GATT has again highlighted the restrictive nature of quarantine actions.
"When other trade barriers disappear, it is tempting to use plant quarantine in an unjustified manner to restrict the free flow of goods", says Mr. Edouard Saouma, the Director General of FAO. "The establishment of the IPPC Secretariat will ensure that plant quarantine measures become more intelligible and relevant."
The Convention is an international agreement to which 98 countries already adhere.
At the request of the contracting parties in the GATT, the IPPC Secretariat, will work in close cooperation with Regional Plant Protection Organizations, to rectify many of the inconsistencies found in the implementation of Plant quarantine. The process to arrive at plant quarantine measures needs to be clearly understood by all and applied in the same manner to avoid trade disputes. Therefore, according to FAO, one of the first tasks will be to harmonize this process globally. Also, internationally recognized guidelines and recommendations need to be developed to keep trade restrictions to a minimum. The task of the Secretariat will be to facilitate this "harmonization" process, which will result in international standards that, if adopted by a country, will not be challengeable in the GATT.
The IPPC Secretariat is expected to play an important and vital role in international plant quarantine and trade-related issues. It is looking forward to assist member countries in the equitable implementation of the IPPC programme leading to a more transparent and mutually acceptable and beneficial trading climate.
FAO (PR 92/38), Rome (1993-01).