WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) Professional Development Program for the Peoples' Republic of China
The United States has obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) food safety agreement that requires it to provide instruction in the use of sound science and risk analysis in rule making and implementation by government and industry to a variety of countries, including the Peoples Republic of China. These principles guide those decisions in the US and we are pressing China to adopt comparable approaches and methods. JIFSAN has been chosen as the organization to develop and provide training for Chinese food safety officials in this area.
At the request of the U.S. SPS team-Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others JIFSAN worked with agencies and industry groups to manage the delivery of the program and the day-to-day support of the Chinese officials. The U.S. SPS team of experts provided technical training in this prototype and the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service led the interagency coordination and initiated industry participation. The initial program's consisted of 15 officials of China's Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine -China's equivalent of USDA and FDA food safety functions.
The program consisted of classes on a variety of topics such as American government, agriculture, food regulations and disease, biotechnology, and other SPS issues. During their second week of training, attendees spent a day learning about the basics of risk analysis in a JIFSAN Risk Analysis Professional Development Training course.
Trainees also spent time traveling to other parts of the country. The group spent a week in the Midwest during the October harvest and two weeks in the West (Denver, Los Angeles, San Joaquin Valley, Portland, Yakima, and Seattle areas) being introduced to U.S. food safety practices in different types of operations.
This combination of seeing, talking, and hearing from experts and practitioners deepened the Chinese officials' understanding of what the U.S. is doing to meet its obligations under the WTO SPS Agreement and provide safe food products in its significant and growing exports to China and globally. Trainees were also provided information and ideas for China's use in its own implementation of the Agreement.
Throughout the program, representatives from U.S. government, academia and industry emphasized that U.S. food safety measures are founded on the principles of sound science, risk analysis, and health. They also focused on the U.S. rulemaking process and its transparency, consistency, and openness to input by the private sector and other countries.
Progress is being made on a second WTO SPS program with China. JIFSAN plans to extend similar leadership programs to other countries.