The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was a free trade agreement that eliminated tariffs and increased international trade. As the first multilateral free trade agreement, GATT governed an important part of international trade between January 1, 1948 and January 1, 1995. The agreement ended when it was replaced by the more robust World Trade Organization (WTO). As a result of lower tariffs, non-tariff barriers (NTBs) have attracted increasing attention because they are as trade-distorting as flat-rate tariffs. Non-tariff barriers consist of a series of rules, standards, standards, technical issues, administrative and bureaucratic procedures and other market-related barriers faced by exporters while trying to access a given market. The WTO is trying to highlight this area through a policy of transparency and information, but also by restrictions on the use of non-tariff barriers. The WTO was created in 1995 to succeed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) created after the Second World War. THE WTO agreements, which are important for food protection measures, are measures relating to health and plant health measures (SPS) 2 and technical barriers to trade (OTC). The SPS and OBT agreements are complementary, both constituting the general legal basis for other legally binding international agreements and instruments that will be adopted on a voluntary basis, such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Karnicki, 1996). The SPS agreement includes: relevant laws, regulations and regulations; testing, inspection, certification and authorisation procedures; packaging and labelling requirements directly related to food safety. On the other hand, the TBT agreement includes all technical rules relating to traditional quality factors, fraudulent practices, packaging and markings. The international trade rules of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) for the protection of human, animal or plant health were so vague that many countries used “health requirements” as trade barriers.
These concerns were taken into account in the rules on multilateral trade relations of the 1994 Uruguay Round, which brought food and agricultural products into the set of international trade rules. It led to the adoption of the SPS Enforcement Agreement (Laws, Regulations and Procedures) and an updated Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (OTC), which ensured fair and effective international trade on the basis of equity and access to global food markets. These agreements should define the conditions for transparency, equivalence, regionalization, harmonisation and national sovereignty when countries establish regulatory measures to ensure food security, consumer protection and plant and animal health.