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Outgoing DG Azevêdo strengthened Codex-WTO collaboration


Roberto Azevêdo was the sixth Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), serving from September 2013. In May 2020 he announced that he would be stepping down on 31 August of this year.

Codex food safety standards, guidelines and codes of practice are designated by the WTO as the international benchmarks under its Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement.

Codex Chairperson Guilherme Da Costa, Brazil, said: “I had the privilege of working directly with Ambassador Roberto Azevêdo from 2010 to 2012 when I was Agricultural Attaché at the Brazilian Delegation to the WTO in Geneva.

Today, the Codex family would like to pay tribute to him for his terrific work as DG of the WTO. During this period with his support we strengthened the collaboration between Codex and the WTO especially with some subsidiary bodies such as the SPS Committee. I am sure that he will continue pushing food safety and fair practices in food trade in his new endeavors.”

A 2017 report “Trade and Food Standards”, emphasized the importance of governments engaging in the setting of international standards for food (through the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission) and in resolving food trade concerns through the relevant WTO committees: the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee.

“It was under the leadership of Roberto Azevêdo that Codex cooperation with WTO intensified and led to this milestone publication”, said Codex Secretary Tom Heilandt.

The publication also underlined the importance of helping developing countries comply with international food standards so that they can participate more effectively in food trade.


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WTO Sanitary and phytosanitary measures