Understanding Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Requirements for Export

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This project aims to support exporters from eight African countries in meeting national and international SPS requirements and quality standards. Focusing on trade between these countries and the European Union (EU), it develops a directory for understanding national and international quality infrastructures, as well as related services specific to SPS requirements.

In today's increasingly globalised world, international trade negotiations are a key aspect of any country's development agenda, particularly those in the developing world. As historically, trade is regarded as a means to boost the economy and progress towards achieving development goals, a key agenda for countries, especially the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), worldwide, is to bolster their exporting potential. The European Union (EU) provides African countries the most favourable conditions for trade and continues to be the region's main exporter for food and manufactured products. The EU supports trade-driven development in LDCs in Africa with initiatives such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and the Everything-But-Arms (EBA) scheme. While the EPA 'establishes a long-term stable free access to the EU market', the EBA is the EU's 'measure to support trade-driven development of least developed countries. At present, the EU is the most open market for African exports as it provides the region with duty-free and quota-free market access.

Since 2013, African exports to the EU have constantly increased and amounted to more than €116 billion in 2016. As of 2019, 65 percent of African goods exported to the EU were primary goods such as food and raw materials. Although the EU provides a free and stable market to African exporters, a crucial component of international trade of food and raw materials are health and safety standards. Therefore, in a free and pro-trade environment, there is pressure on both importing and exporting countries to comply with international regulatory systems with regards to health and safety standards of traded goods.

Developing countries tend to be wary of trade regulations and often regard them as protectionist and exploitative measures. While there continue to be restrictions and measures on trade that act as barriers to international commerce, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures endeavour to protect human, animal and plant life and health, while simultaneously tackling unnecessary barriers to trade. The SPS measures are 'based on sound scientific methods' and are applied only to protect the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health' and are not 'created to arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between countries where identical or similar conditions prevail.

While at the outset, trade regulations could seem as protectionist measures, this study aims to highlight how compliance with the SPS measures strengths both trade and market access, while simultaneously respecting health regulations. This study focuses on the international standards set under the SPS Agreement and how the measures will support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa trade better with the international markets and highlights how improved cooperation between importing and exporting countries improves trade and market access.



Support exporters from eight African countries in meeting SPS requirements and quality standards


Nov. 2019 - Sept. 2020

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)