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Monday, 8 June 2009

Japan makes first gift to food, animal and plant health standards facility

Japan is giving US$ 278,368 (approximately 296,000 Swiss francs) for projects to help developing countries analyze and implement international standards on food safety and animal and plant health — so-called sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

The donation is Japan’s first for the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), a program set up for the purpose jointly by the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Japan joins 12 other current donors: Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States.

WTO Director General Pascal Lamy welcomed Japan’s donation. “This contribution shows Japan’s commitment to help developing countries meet international standards and make fuller use of export opportunities for their agricultural products.”

Japanese Ambassador Shinichi Kitajima stated: “This donation is an illustration of our longtime commitment to helping developing and least developed countries. By building capacity to implement international sanitary and phytosanitary standards, they will be in a better position to make full use of the multilateral trading system for their sustainable growth and poverty reduction.”

In the planning and delivery of its assistance, the STDF works closely with other technical assistance initiatives involving the WTO, in particular the Integrated Framework for Least-Developed Countries and Aid for Trade.

The STDF’s current Medium Term Strategy runs until 2011 and aims to achieve a facility with annual operating funds of $5 million. Since its inception in 2002, the STDF has built a portfolio of 36 projects and has financed a further 33 project-preparation grants.

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