Increasing global trade has led to the development of international food standards, codes of practice, guidelines and recommendations under the Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). The objectives of CAC are to develop standards, codes of practice and guidelines for foods moving in international trade in order to protect the health of consumers and to facilitate trade by ensuring fair trade practices. The standards developed by CAC have become even more important after 1st January 1995 with the implementation of the World Trade Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitory Measures (the SPS Agreement) and the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. Both of these agreements recognise the international standards, guidelines and recommendations of Codex Alimentarius as the reference points for facilitating international trade and resolving trade disputes. In view of the fact that more and more countries are aligning their national standards with those of Codex Alimentarius, Codex standards have serious implications on exports of palm oil and palm oil products. This paper highlights the Codex system and reveals how the Codex standards impact international trade in palm oil and palm oil products.
Keywords: international food standards, Codex Alimentarius Commision, SPS agreement, TBT agreement