Background

The U.S. and Bahrain recently signed a memorandum of understanding under which Bahrain will continue to accept existing U.S. export certifications for food and agricultural products, including fish and fish products, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports. This is because Bahrain recognizes that food safety standards, food standards, and regulatory oversight of the production and processing of food and agriculture products administered under the authority of the U.S. government meet Bahrain’s standards for imports into that country.

The MOU also commits Bahrain to (a) ensure that any new measures or import requirements that take effect after March 30 are applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health; are based on scientific principles; and are not maintained without sufficient scientific evidence to meet Bahrain’s appropriate level of protection; (b) notify draft measures to the World Trade Organization Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures or Technical Barriers to Trade committees; and (c) take comments into account in the final measure, consistent with Bahrain’s international trade obligations, to prevent unwarranted impacts on Bahrain’s imports of food and agricultural products. The MOU also provides for consultations to address potential new requirements.

According to USTR, the most recent trade figures show that the U.S. shipped $76 million worth of agricultural and fishery products, $907 million in goods, and $271 million in services to Bahrain while importing $996 million in goods and $1.3 billion in services.

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