About 1859 the grape fungus [Phylloxera], a native of the eastern USA, was introduced into France through the medium of imported grapevine cuttings; during the following 20 years it spread throughout Europe. Within 25 years of its discovery in France it had destroyed nearly one third of the French vineyards. Similar shipments of vine cuttings from France about 1872 spread the [Phylloxera] to Australia, where legislation to suppress the infestation was passed in 1877. This act gave power to quarantine and even to eradicate vines and destroy vineyards. In France regulation relating to [Phylloxera] was proclaimed in 1878. The first international action in the field of plant quarantine was in 1881, when a conference held in Bern, Switzerland, drafted an agreement known as the [Phylloxera Convention], preventing the introduction of the [Phylloxera] from the USA and restricting the movement of grapevines and grape products to prevent its further spread between European countries.
Other major landmarks in the development of plant quarantine were the [International Convention for the Protection of Plants] (1929) and the [International Plant Protection Convention] drafted in 1951. These both sought closer liaison between national plant quarantine services.
While the [Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade] (TBT) represents a starting point in developing co-operation in technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures, much more remains to be achieved including issues relating to the establishment and acceptance of international standards, and internationally agreed mechanisms for assessing conformity with these standards. There should also be increased incentives for countries to adopt international standards. International standards do not exist for many products, and when they do, they are not always taken up leaving countries using (divergent) national standards that can restrict market access.