Trade barriers to U.S. specialty crop exports can be complex, and the U.S. government’s response is generally formulated within an interagency context. USDA representatives abroad often receive information on pending regulations before those measures are formally notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for international public consultation. USDA and other relevant agencies can then engage with trading partners on proposed regulations at an early stage. FAS leads an interagency review process to provide formal comments on certain measures notified by member countries to the WTO.
U.S. regulatory agencies, including APHIS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration, are involved in establishing international standards related to food safety, environmental impacts, and plant health that directly affect U.S. specialty crop exports.
U.S. officials, led by the United States Codex Office (USCO), participate in the development of international food safety and commodity standards, with FAS and USCO working together and with the interagency to build support for U.S. policy positions. International standards developed by the joint World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Codex Alimentarius Commission, International Plant Protection Convention, and the World Animal Health Organization often serve as the basis for national sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations adopted by many trading partners.