The SPS Agreement addresses concerns on the application of food safety and animal and plant health regulations. The longer transition period granted to LDCs to apply the provisions of the SPS Agreement expired in 2000. The 2001 Doha Ministerial Decision on implementation-related issues and concerns urged members to “provide, to the extent possible, the financial and technical assistance necessary to enable least-developed countries to respond adequately to the introduction of any new SPS measures which may have significant negative effects on their trade” and to “ensure that technical assistance is provided to least-developed countries with a view to responding to the special problems faced by them in implementing the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures” (par 3.6).
As part of capacity-building efforts, the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) supports governments and the private sector in developing countries to address sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacity gaps. The STDF has a target of dedicating at least 40% of total project financing allocated to LDCs or Other Low-Income Countries. There is also a lower co-financing requirement for technical assistance: beneficiaries from LDCs and OLICs contribute at least 10% of the requested STDF contribution to a project, as opposed to 20% for lower-middle-income countries and 60% for upper-middle-income countries (STDF Operational Rules). Graduation could lead to an increase in the terms of co-financing, from 10% to 20% (WTO/EIF, 2020).