STC Number - 103

FMD-related import restrictions

Maintained by: Unspecified
Raised by: Argentina; European Union
Supported by: Bolivia, Plurinational State of; Brazil; Uruguay
First date raised: July 2001 G/SPS/R/22, paras. 56-64
Dates subsequently raised: October 2001 (G/SPS/R/25, paras. 20-23)
June 2002 (G/SPS/R/27, paras. 48-49)
November 2002 (G/SPS/R/28, paras. 52-53)
Number of times subsequently raised: 3
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/269
Products covered: 1404 Vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; International Standards / Harmonization; Pest or Disease free Regions / Regionalization
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: New Zealand, Indonesia, Ukraine and Switzerland lifted restrictions against EC member States after they regained FMD-free status. Problems with other Members persisting. Resolved with Argentina.
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 2001, the European Communities observed that many Members had imposed restrictions on products that had been treated in accordance with the international standard to destroy the FMD virus, and had kept them in place beyond the recognized waiting period of three months. The principles of proportionality, justification of measures and regionalization in accordance with the OIE Code and Article 6 had not been followed. Although border controls within the European Communities had been eliminated, they had been replaced by other control instruments.
Argentina expressed concern that many products from Argentina were facing scientifically unjustified restrictions that violated Articles 2.1, 3.1 and 5.1 and the OIE Code. Plant products, except straw and forage, should normally not be affected by FMD-related measures.
Australia explained that it was asking for reasonable information to allow a scientific judgement in the face of a different clinical presentation in sheep. Recently, additional restrictions on Denmark and Austria and on race horses from the European Communities had been lifted. Australia would re-examine the restrictions as requested information was received. The United States clarified that its FMD measures on EC countries affected only the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands and France. The United States had lifted restrictions on EC member States that had not had FMD cases in May 2001, and was currently evaluating the situation in France and Ireland. The OIE representative drew the attention of the Committee to G/SPS/GEN/266, which in Annex 1 contained a list of countries that had been confirmed as free of FMD without vaccination, including several EC member States. G/SPS/GEN/240 contained the relevant Code chapter on FMD, which had been thoroughly reviewed between 1990 and 1997 and should be taken into account by WTO Members.
The European Communities noted its long tradition of good trade with Uruguay and Argentina, and hoped the situation would soon be resolved. In the EC view, Australia's questionnaire was out of proportion with the problem to be addressed. It was not acceptable that non-affected countries received a questionnaire corresponding to an affected country wanting to be declared free of FMD. The European Communities appreciated the US reaction regarding unaffected countries, and asked the United States to follow the example of Canada and New Zealand in handling the crisis. Brazil and Bolivia expressed concern that Members were departing from the principles of the SPS Agreement.
In October 2001, the European Communities expressed concern over continued Australian restrictions, which affected member States in which there had been no outbreaks of FMD and were based on a failure by these countries to reply to an Australian questionnaire. Canadian and US restrictions against Greece also affected a member State where no outbreak had occurred and that had been declared FMD-free in the meantime. The European Communities also brought to the attention of the Committee continued US, Japanese and Mexican restrictions against France, the Netherlands and Ireland. New Zealand, Indonesia, Ukraine and Switzerland had lifted restrictions against member States after they had regained FMD-free status.
Australia reported that it was now able to recognize all member States except the United Kingdom as FMD-free. Japan stated that bilateral consultations were continuing with France, Ireland and the Netherlands. The United States reported that import restrictions continued to apply to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France and Ireland. The United States recognized that the disease outbreaks in these countries were limited, no remaining technical concerns existed, and the United States was taking the necessary regulatory actions to publicize the proposals in the Federal Register. Concerning Greece, the product ban pre-dated the current FMD outbreak and was a separate issue. Canada recalled that Greece had only recently expressed an interest in exporting meat products to Canada, and the request was being evaluated.
In June 2002, the European Communities reported that most Members had lifted their restrictions related to the FMD outbreak in Europe. The OIE had just revised its list of countries recognized as FMD-free, which included all 15 EC member States. However, some Members continued to apply restrictions or requirements which served as administrative bans on EC products, in particular UK meat and meat products. Argentina noted that they also continued to suffer long-term negative effects from measures kept in place without justification.
Japan reported that the Domestic Animal Infectious Disease Control Law had been amended on 14 June, permitting resumption of imports of pork meat and products from France and Ireland. The comment period regarding a proposed lifting of the import ban on Dutch products had just concluded, and the ban could be lifted as early as mid-July.
In November 2002 the European Communities noted disappointment that some unnecessary and unreasonable FMD trade barriers continued to affect EC exports, in violation of the SPS Agreement. Mexico imposed a number of BSE-related measures that had a detrimental effect on exports from Austria, although Austria had registered no cases of FMD in the course of the 2001 outbreaks. Bilateral meetings on the matter had been unsuccessful. Mexico indicated that it recognized Austria as being FMD free but were waiting to receive a request from Austria for plant inspections. Argentina supported the comments made by the European Communities with regards to FMD-related measures taken by certain Members.
In March 2004, Argentina informed the Secretariat that the issue had been resolved with respect to Argentina's concerns.