The WTO SPS Enquiry Point is essentially an Internet site where enquiries about Trinidad and Tobago’s agricultural health and food safety requirements/legislation and changes that can affect trade are published for the information and comments of affected countries or countries that are members of the WTO. It was established in fulfillment of Trinidad and Tobago’s obligation as a member of the WTO.
The WTO SPS Enquiry Point seeks to increase transparency in trade and is obligated to answer all reasonable questions regarding SPS measures from WTO Member countries. It is also required to provide relevant supporting documents. This free and open communication allows trading partners to be aware of and to meet expectations and trade requirement more readily thus contributing to the trade facilitation process and increase trade activity in both imports and exports. A newsletter compiling WTO SPS notifications from throughout the world is compiled and posted every ten days and interested persons can request further information on these notifications from the SPS Enquiry Point.
Some notifications request comments from stakeholders. These comments can be submitted to the Plant Protection Committee or the Chief Veterinary Officer, for plants and animals respectively, via the WTO SPS Enquiry Point. The Plant Protection Committee and the Chief Veterinary officer will compile and peruse comments before sending to the respective countries as a country comment from Trinidad and Tobago. This unit also serves as the IPPC Editor. The IPPC is an international agreement, established in 1952, on plant health.
It aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by securing coordinated and effective actions by member countries to prevent the introduction and spread of pests of plants and plant products. The Convention provides a framework and a forum for international cooperation, harmonization and technical exchange between contracting parties. Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory to this convention. Under the IPPC, information exchange is the responsibility of member countries and is carried out through the International Phytosanitary Portal (IPP).
The IPP is an internet-based information system designed to hold information published in accordance with the Convention and decisions taken by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures. The IPP editor is responsible for: perusing the IPP on a regular basis for the latest updates posted on the portal; entering country information as part of the country's reporting obligations to the IPPC; and handling e-mail related to the IPPC.