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The role of OIE International Standards in international trade 

Budimir Plavsic, Head of the Regional Office of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Moscow, discussed with V&L the impact of OIE international standards on the global trade.

The role of OIE International Standards in international trade 
Photo by Aleksandr Plonskii /V&L

The impact of OIE international standards on global trade is huge. I would like to mention that Russia recognizes OIE as a very important organization and understands the benefits of those international standards in the orientation of industry to export. That means that if some Russian company or entrepreneurial enterprise wants to export, for example, cheese to another country, they will negotiate with that country a veterinary certificate, to accept import of that cheese to that country. That veterinary certificate is a proof of the country that this product is safe for human consumption and that it is free of pathogens (bacteria, viruses and toxins). That is the role of veterinary services - to protect the country from importation of pathogens, or animals with diseases, or food with some biological, or chemical, or other hazards.

I would like to underline the significance of both the direct and indirect impact of international standards on trade. Involvement of veterinary services in the standard setting process is of huge importance. And in addition, consultation of veterinary authorities with industry and other governmental services is crucial. With support of science and research institutions. In Russia there are two national research and scientific organizations collaborating with OIE. These are the Russian State Center for Animal Feed and Drug Standardization and Quality (FGBI VGNKI) in Moscow and the Federal Center for Animal Health (FGBI ARRIAH) in Vladimir. They are our collaborating centers.

In addition, we’re recognized by the World Trade Organization as an international reference organization for all aspects of trade in food commodities. That covers live animals, animal products, food of animal origin, and that is the reason why all member countries are so interested in working under the OIE platform. When I say “OIE platform” that means that OIE doesn’t bring those standards to countries. No. It is countries, who develop standards, so OIE is just an organization which facilitates negotiations between countries and then adoption of those standards on our platform.

In May comes the most important day for OIE, for 182 member countries and veterinary services of member countries. This is because we’re going to have a World Assembly of Delegates, which takes place every May, in Paris, and this is when the international standards are discussed. May be we will adopt some new standards or update existing ones.

The international standards are described in 4 books, which is the international code of animal health standards for terrestrial animals (Terrestrial Animal Health Code), the second is for aquatic animals (Aquatic Code) and then we have also a manual of diagnostics for terrestrial animal diseases (Terrestrial Manual) and manual for diagnostics and medicines for aquatic animals (Aquatic Manual).

These books are published on our website in French, in English, in Spanish, and in Russian. Our office here, together with Russian authorities, with Rosselkhoznadzor, made sure that those standards were translated into Russian and are available for Russian speaking countries.

What is the basis for changing those standards (adoption of new or update of current ones)? It is based on scientific knowledge and different research, which scientists from different countries contribute to us. We discuss together, what should be taken into consideration to change the standards. For example, if you have new scientific methodologies to assess risk of animal diseases, new biologicals to diagnose animal disease, or new biologicals, like vaccines, to prevent diseases, or new medicines to treat infections, then member countries delegates discuss it and accept changes.

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English version, 20 May 2022 16:59
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