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17 June, 2020

EC: Meeting of the Market Access Working Group on SPS Issues

EC: Meeting of the Market Access Working Group on SPS Issues

INC attended the virtual meeting of the Market Access Working Group on Sanitary and Phytosanitary issues (SPS MAWG) organized by the European Commission (EC), on May 26, 2020.

At the SPS MAWG, information from stakeholders (Member States, EU businesses, technical experts) is gathered, shared and discussed, in order to seek solutions and ensure a coordinated approach to improve market access conditions for EU exporters.
Representatives of the European Commission (DG TRADE, DG SANTE) gave a report on some of the measures adopted by the European Union, including guidance from international organizations such as the Food Safety Authority (FSA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Plant Protection Convention, among others. Furthermore, several multilateral statements regarding COVID-19 situation, including G20 Ministerial, World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stressed the importance to ensure that trade-related measures do not disrupt the food supply chain.
During the Session, different issues regarding the impact of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures on imports to third countries, especially regarding non-contact measures in border controls and the acceptance of digital certificates, among others, were discussed. Representatives of European associations addressed specific problems and concerns related to COVID-19 impact in trade to the Commissioners. The Committee of Professional Agricultural Organizations-General Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (COPA-COGECA) talked about transportation issues caused by COVID-19; FoodDrinkEurope explained the impact of the pandemic on the EU food and drink industry; Wine and Spirits gave an overview of the measures that have an impact on the sector; and the European Fresh Produce Association (Freshfel) explained the outputs of the impact assessment in the EU fresh fruit and vegetable sector.
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