Governing Trade Trade Regulations

Regulation of international trade in animal germplasm is based on animal health issues and national socioeconomic policies. Animal health regulations have been formulated at national and international levels to prevent the spread of diseases between animal populations either within a country or between countries. Generally, countries have a set of phytosanitary regulations focusing on important diseases. For example, a country may want to bar the importation of semen from a country that is endemic with foot and mouth disease. Nonphytosanitary trade regulations are primarily focused upon decreasing consumer costs for animal products or protecting the economic viability of a country's livestock sector.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has had a significant impact on how germplasm is traded between countries. The WTO has linked trade (monetary issues) with health issues. This is an essential element for the facilitation of international trade. To ensure disease risk is minimized and to assist in preventing nontariff barriers to trade, the WTO developed the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures. The purpose of this

Table 1 U.S. exports and imports of semen or embryos in 2002

Germplasm type and species group Export quantity Export value, $ Import quantity Import value, $

Semen

Table 1 U.S. exports and imports of semen or embryos in 2002

Germplasm type and species group Export quantity Export value, $ Import quantity Import value, $

Semen

Bovine

6,366,272

47,470,000

Dairy

1,544,857

8,157,000

Beef

1,754,142

7,635,000

Other

9,G21

372,000

13,229

476,000

Embryos

Dairy cattle

3,888

2,483,000

60

20,000

Beef cattle

3,125

1,091,000

283

141,000

Chickens

Broiler & layer

5,7G9,425

11,704,395

2,439,078

1,858,146

Total value ($)

63,120,395

18,287,146

(From USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, www.fas.usda.gov/ustrdscripts/USReport.exe, accessed 9 9 2003.)

(From USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, www.fas.usda.gov/ustrdscripts/USReport.exe, accessed 9 9 2003.)

agreement is to allow Members ''to adopt and enforce measures necessary to protect human, animal or plant life health, subject to the requirement that measures are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between Members where the same conditions prevail or a disguised restriction on international trade.''[1] The WTO has designated the Office of International Epizootics (OIE) as the reference organization for animal health and zoonoses. Since 1960 the OIE has developed and altered over time the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, the objective of which is to prevent the spread of animal diseases, while facilitating international trade in live animals, semen, embryos, and animal products.[2] It is through the Terrestrial Animal Health Code that the OIE contributes to the global trade in animal germplasm. Because the OIE is a body consisting of member countries, it provides a forum for discussing and modifying the Terrestrial Animal Health Code; member countries have input as to the content of the health code.

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