Tbilisi, Georgia: CLDP Facilitates Meeting of Central Asia Expert Level Working Group on SPS Measures Focused on Information Availability

May 13, 2019 - May 15, 2019
Lab Visit: Meeting of Central Asia Expert Level Working Group on SPS Measures

On May 13-15, 2019, in Tbilisi, Georgia, CLDP facilitated the eighth meeting of the Expert Level Working Group on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The group benefited from additional participation by officials from Ukraine and Georgia. Each participating country presented to the group the updates and changing state of play in animal, plant, and food safety rules and measures in their country. Participants posed questions to each other over these changes and discussed their impact on regional trade. The group heard and discussed several presentations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regarding World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS Notification obligations, the relationship between the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and international trade, and an update on electronic-phytosanitary certifications. The group also heard from CLDP Ukraine personnel regarding lack of WTO notifications from the Central Asia region and the potential to increase SPS notification and transparency activities. Participants also heard from representatives from Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture about challenges Georgia faces in making changes to its SPS rules as required under its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. Throughout the presentations and breakout discussion sessions, the group explored the idea that providing interested stakeholders as much information as possible about new SPS measures creates confidence amongst trading partners and leads to increased, safer trade. Participants were able to tour Georgia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture laboratory to enquire about food, animal, and plant testing procedures. The group engaged in active discussion with lab officials regarding specific details and processes that could be relevant in their own countries. The program ended with remarks from U.S. Department of Commerce General Counsel, Peter Davidson, encouraging participants to continue their push to provide more information to stakeholders and to continue to work towards interconnectivity and integration amongst participating countries. In follow-up to the program, the group will share information regarding where each country’s SPS rules and measures are published, including  information about how interested stakeholder can comment on those measures. The group’s further work will focus on increasing information availability for interested stakeholders and continuing its work with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to develop a regional veterinary laboratory network.

Participants of the Meeting of Central Asia Expert Level Working Group on SPS Measures Focused on Information Availability

CLDP in Action

October 23, 2019 - October 24, 2019

On October 23-24 in Tunis, Tunisia, CLDP held a workshop to identify potential changes to Tunisian law that would encourage increased cross-border eCommerce transactions for both exports and imports. Over 40 representatives from several government ministries, the private sector, and the NGO community discussed potential amendments to Tunisia’s eCommerce law, customs procedures, central bank currency and payment rules, and other matters.  The participants offered sets of informal recommendations for further action.

ECommerce in Tunisia has not reached its full potential, although there are black market eCommerce websites. Legal changes could help Tunisian SMEs and individuals reach new markets, while also providing opportunities for US sellers.

Read More about Tunisia: CLDP Holds Cross-Border eCommerce Workshop