Sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) ensure that consumers are being supplied with food that is safe to eat. Therefore, it is important to guarantee health and safety regulations within a range where they do not pose trade barriers. Hence, governments need to strike a fair balance between consumer protection and the smooth flow of goods. Capacity in Cambodia, Lao PDR and – to a lesser extent also in Vietnam – for dealing with cross-border SPS issues remains limited. In these countries, a weak SPS management often impedes the inclusion of national enterprises in regional and global value chains.

ASEAN is China’s second largest trade partner for agricultural and food products. However, the ASEAN China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) still stays underutilised especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To foster an inclusive regional dialogue, to improve national capacities, and to enable the private sector to harness the opportunities of regional cooperation and trade the GIZ Programme Support for Economic Cooperation in Sub-Regional Initiatives in Asia (SCSI) commissioned a SPS status report on agricultural trade between the three countries and China. The report analyses the current SPS regime and challenges for regional trade in agricultural products.

It provides in-depth perspectives on progress as well as issues that exporters and development partners are confronted with. The first chapters briefly introduce the definitions of SPS and the global SPS regime setting. Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 provide a closer look at SPS related policies all three countries and China. These two Chapters not only examine the respective agencies involved in SPS issues but draw out the challenges CLV countries are facing when exporting agricultural products to the Chinese market. Chapter 5 focuses on the current status of donor aided approaches to improving SPS related capacities in the CLV countries. A compilation of the latest on China-ASEAN and China-CLV trade data complete the report.

The Report has been distributed to relevant programme partners in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and China as well as respective GIZ projects working in the field of agricultural trade and trade facilitation.