The impact of the precautionary principle and the SPS agreement on international trade.
WTO Agreements have failed to adequately cater for the needs of developing countries. The WTO Agreements, particularly the SPS Agreements has failed to take into account the special needs of developing and least developing countries and clearly their interests have received no representation in the Agreement. Instead of reducing the negative impact of the SPS measures, the Agreement itself has become a barrier to trade. The problems of its implementation inclusive of the expertise, the high costs of conformity, lack of infrastructure and adequate resources have created further restrictions for exporters in international commerce. The failure to adequately deal with the implementation problems of developing countries is evident in the stalemate that culminated at the Doha Ministerial Conference which has extended for over a decade. Perhaps the future of African developments lies in regional agreements, since it is clear that the multilateral trading system has failed. Whereas some scholars are of the view that Article 5.7 of the Agreement should be used as model for the precautionary principle. The principle is highly controversial and does not even have a universal definition; its application might prove to be highly problematic. However the trade-environment debate has already taken center stage in the WTO jurisprudence, suggesting possibly the emergence of an Agreement to that effect. One however can only wonder whether in including the trade-environment debate under the ambit of the WTO when clearly it has failed to deal with issues and concerns’ relating to trade only, might be biting much more than it can chew.