STC Number - 193

General import restrictions due to BSE

Maintained by: Unspecified
Raised by: European Union; United States of America
Supported by: Canada; Switzerland; Uruguay
First date raised: June 2004 G/SPS/R/34, paras. 37-38; See also STC 84.
Dates subsequently raised: October 2004 (G/SPS/R/35, paras. 85-86)
June 2005 (G/SPS/R/37/Rev.1, paras. 75-76)
February 2007 (G/SPS/R/44, para. 29)
October 2008 (G/SPS/R/53, paras. 24-28)
February 2009 (G/SPS/R/54, paras. 11-12)
June 2009 (G/SPS/R/55, para. 47)
October 2009 (G/SPS/R/56, para. 46)
March 2010 (G/SPS/R/58, paras. 35-36 )
June 2010 (G/SPS/R/59, para. 44 )
October 2010 (G/SPS/R/61, para. 24)
March 2011 (G/SPS/R/62, para. 65)
June 2011 (G/SPS/R/63, paras. 73-74)
October 2011 (G/SPS/R/64, paras 98-99)
March 2012 (G/SPS/R/66, paras. 28-31)
July 2012 (G/SPS/R/67, paras. 45-48)
October 2012 (G/SPS/R/69, paras. 49 - 52)
March 2013 (G/SPS/R/70, paras. 3.20-3.24)
June 2013 (G/SPS/R/71, paras. 4.33-4.35)
October 2013 (G/SPS/R/73, paras. 3.44 - 3.46)
March 2014 (G/SPS/R/74, paras. 3.28-3.30)
July 2014 (G/SPS/R/75, paras. 4.33-4.37)
October 2014 (G/SPS/R/76, paras. 3.26-3.30)
March 2015 (G/SPS/R/78, paras. 3.30-3.32 )
July 2015 (G/SPS/R/79, paras. 3.29-3.30)
October 2015 (G/SPS/R/81, para. 3.65 )
March 2016 (G/SPS/R/82, para. 3.45)
June 2016 (G/SPS/R/83, para. 4.12)
October 2016 (G/SPS/R/84, para. 3.37 )
March 2017 (G/SPS/R/86, paras. 3.31-3.32)
July 2017 (G/SPS/R/87, para. 4.42)
November 2017 (G/SPS/R/88, para. 3.34)
March 2018 (G/SPS/R/90, para. 3.43)
July 2018 (G/SPS/R/92/Rev.1, para. 4.50)
November 2018 (G/SPS/R/93, para. 3.65)
March 2019 (G/SPS/R/94, paras. 3.95)
July 2019 (G/SPS/R/95, paras. 4.85)
Number of times subsequently raised: 36
Relevant documents: Raised orally.
Products covered: 04 Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included; 0201 Meat of bovine animals, fresh or chilled.; 0202 Meat of bovine animals, frozen.; 0511 Animal products not elsewhere specified or included; dead animals of Chapter 1 or 3, unfit for human consumption.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization; Zoonoses
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: Solutions notified regarding certain Members
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 2004, the European Communities raised concerns about unjustified import restrictions on EC exports due to concerns about BSE. To satisfy consumer demands, the European Communities had adopted comprehensive measures to address risks relating to BSE. These measures applied both to products intended for consumption within the European Communities and to those destined for export. The system of geographical assessment used in the European Communities had successfully identified countries in which the disease was still present. The European Communities called on other countries to replace import bans, which exceeded OIE recommendations and yet did not fully address potential internal risks, with specific import requirements in accordance with OIE standards. Many products, such as semen, embryos and dairy products, could be traded with predefined guarantees. Members were urged to take into consideration OIE recommendations for international trade and to stop discriminating among Members with similar BSE conditions.

In October 2004, the United States also raised concerns on this issue by noting that some Members were reviewing their import restrictions on US beef and also urged all those Members who had not done so to align their regulations in accordance with OIE standards.
Canada recalled that at its last meeting the OIE had reconfirmed that some products, such as semen, embryos, hides, and milk, did not contribute to the transmission of BSE. Hence the imports of these types of products did not provide a potential pathway for introduction of the disease.

In October 2004, the European Communities informed the Committee that several WTO Members had reviewed their bans on EC beef and small bovine ruminant products and replaced them with specific requirements in accordance with OIE standards. The European Communities urged all those Members who had not yet done so to align their regulations in accordance with OIE standards. The United States noted that some Members were reviewing their import restrictions on US beef and also urged all those Members who had not done so to align their regulations in accordance with OIE standards.

In June 2005, the European Communities reported that the number of countries that had lifted their respective bans on EC bovines and bovine products in accordance with OIE standards had been regularly growing, including also non-Members of the WTO. According to the revised BSE chapter of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, many bovine derived products, including deboned skeletal muscle and blood products, could be safely traded regardless of the BSE status of the exporting country. The European Communities invited the remaining WTO Members to replace their import bans with specific import requirements in accordance with OIE standards.

In February 2007, the United States expressed concern that US ruminant and non-ruminant products continued to face BSE-related restrictions. Although there had been some progress and a number of Members had removed measures, US products continued to face overly restrictive measures which exceeded the OIE standards. The United States had undertaken extensive surveillance and put in place interlocking safeguards, nonetheless many restrictions remained in place. The United States asked Members to review the evidence now available and to revise their requirements accordingly.

In October 2008, the European Communities recalled the concerns previously raised by Canada regarding Korea's restriction on beef imports. The European Communities also had concerns regarding restrictions maintained by other WTO Members on beef exported from the European Communities even though these beef products were considered safe and in compliance with the BSE chapter of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code.
Canada shared the EC concerns and asked Members to base their measures on the BSE chapter provisions of OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. In May 2007, Canada was officially recognized by the OIE as controlled-risk for BSE and this was reconfirmed in May 2008. Canada was grateful to the increasing number of WTO Members that restored full or partial access for beef and cattle. Canada urged other Members to resume full trade in beef and cattle based on the OIE designation.
Uruguay supported the concerns of the European Communities and Canada. With regard to animal health regulations applied to trade, Uruguay stated that all WTO Members should conform to the OIE designation and to the standards of the three sisters in general. Switzerland also supported the EC concern on restrictions due to BSE.
The representative of the OIE urged Members to abide by the standards enacted by the OIE.

In February 2009, the European Communities drew attention to the OIE standard for BSE, which did not recommend trade restrictions on de-boned beef from animals aged less than 30 months. The European Communities met this standard, but its exports were still facing trade restrictions. National restrictions maintained despite the OIE Code undermined this standard that had been adopted after long negotiations, thus damaging the credibility of the OIE. The OIE was planning to update the Code, because there was compelling evidence that the age requirement was not necessary, but the European Communities questioned whether this was worthwhile if Members did not apply the standard in any case. Trade in beef was important, and BSE issues were among the concerns most frequently raised in the SPS Committee. The European Communities appealed to Members to make greater efforts to base their measures on the relevant OIE standards. Jordan was now accepting the OIE Code, as did the European Communities, and others should follow this example.
OIE explained that the BSE standards had been democratically adopted by OIE members, and were in fact very conservative. The OIE was considering removing the age requirement, and relaxing the restrictions on gelatine. There was still a wide margin of safety built into the standards, and it was worrying that there was a lack of willingness on the part of Members to apply them.

In June 2009, the European Communities again drew attention to restrictions on bovine meat and related products still imposed by many Members. The European Communities requested that unjustified and discriminatory restrictions be removed. The OIE Code stated that no bans were necessary even if a country reported cases of BSE. EC measures to control BSE were exemplary and went far beyond OIE requirements, and the European Communities urged Members to establish fair, non-discriminatory and transparent rules for the import of bovine products.

In October 2009, the European Communities recalled that they had repeatedly raised concerns about unjustified restrictions by some WTO Members on imports of bovine, ovine and related products allegedly in response to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. Any measures should be based on the relevant international standards. While many were aligning their processes to OIE recommendations, other Members still required unnecessary certification, applied burdensome and lengthy procedures and discriminated between countries without scientific basis. EC measures to eradicate and control BSE were comprehensive and offered every guarantee that EC exports were safe. The European Communities urged Members to fully take into consideration the latest OIE BSE guidelines and to establish fair, non-discriminatory and transparent rules.

In March 2010, the European Union reported that certain WTO Members still maintained unjustified import restrictions arguably to protect against Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE). The European Union urged Members to lift any unnecessary, disproportionate, or discriminatory restrictions which negatively affected EU exports. The OIE recommendations on BSE, which were reviewed in May 2009, included the possibility to import meat or even live animals from countries having a "negligible", "controlled", or "undetermined" BSE risk status, as long as the OIE rules on surveillance and control were followed. In addition, for certain products under specific conditions, such as de-boned skeletal muscle meat, milk and milk products, semen and embryos, there should be no BSE import requirements regardless of the BSE risk or the age of the cattle population of the exporting country, zone or compartment.
Switzerland supported the concerns raised by the European Union, stating that WTO Members should base their measures on the OIE recommendations and available data on BSE.

In June 2010, the European Union reported that certain WTO Members still maintained unjustified import restrictions to protect against TSE. The European Union urged Members to lift any unnecessary, disproportionate, or discriminatory restrictions which negatively affected EU exports. The European Union recalled that OIE had issued BSE standards based on scientific risk assessments and defined the conditions under which commodities could be safely traded.

In May 2010, additional wording was inserted in Article 11.6 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code to clarify that, providing the commodities had been imported in accordance with those conditions, the status of the importing countries would not be affected. The European Union recalled the OIE recommendations, and observed that some Members had recently announced new measures which, without any scientific justification, deviated from OIE standards. The European Union urged Members to align themselves with the OIE process and to process applications from the European Union.

In October 2010, the European Union noted that restrictions of imports due to BSE remained of great concern and urged Members to lift any unnecessary, disproportionate and discriminatory restrictions. A number of WTO Members continued to impose unjustified import restrictions, such as allowing imports only from countries that had a negligible risk status according to the OIE classification or where no cases of BSE had been notified at all. There had been, however, some positive developments. The Philippines had announced the lifting of import restrictions on beef from most of EU member States, and Egypt was now allowing imports of de-boned beef from animals younger than 48 months. The European Union urged Members to quickly align their requirements with the OIE standards, and to establish fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and scientifically sound import requirements.

In March 2011, the European Union urged Members to lift unnecessary restrictions negatively affecting EU beef exports. The OIE standard highlighted that there should not be restrictions on some bovine products regardless of the BSE-risk status of the country. Unfortunately, several unjustified restrictions from Members only allowed imports from countries with a negligible BSE-risk assessment. In addition, there had also been a number of discriminatory practices and inconsistencies in the level of protection of some countries. The European Union urged Members to align their requirements with OIE standards and acknowledged the many countries that had started the assessment process to allow imports.

In June 2011, the European Union expressed concerns that several Members had not yet implemented the OIE standard on BSE and continued to impose bans or trade restrictions on EU beef products. These Members should either implement the OIE standard, or else share their scientific risk assessment. To date, the European Union had not seen any scientific justification for restrictions that went beyond the OIE standards. The European Union welcomed the implementation of the OIE standards by several Members, as well as the process begun by the United States and Australia, which would eventually allow the import of EU beef products. The European Union urged Members to fully take into account the OIE standards and establish fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, and scientifically based rules.
Canada was pleased to note that a large number of Members had approved the import of Canadian beef based on the OIE standards, and joined the European Union in asking Members to base their measures on OIE standards.

In October 2011, the European Union recalled that it had repeatedly raised concerns that several Members continued to impose bans or restrictive conditions on products from EU member States allegedly because of BSE, but without respecting the international standards as required by the SPS Agreement. The OIE standard on BSE was very well developed and provided details regarding the disease and conditions for the safe trade of bovine products. This meant that there was no need for additional risk assessments or for any trade restrictions at all on the well-defined safe products, such as deboned meat, regardless of the BSE risk status of the country. Despite having raised this same concern for a long time, no one had ever provided a scientific risk assessment that would justify any deviation from the international standard. In this regard, the European Union urged, in particular, China, Japan and South Korea to bring their requirements into line with the international standards and the SPS Agreement. The European Union welcomed recent developments in Australia and urged Australia to finalize this process quickly. The United States was also moving towards the adoption of comprehensive BSE rules and the European Union expected to see this process rapidly lead to US requirements fully in line with the OIE standard and a tangible outcome for trade. The European Union urged all Members to fully align their BSE-related requirements with the OIE standards and thus establish fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and scientifically justified requirements.
Japan and Korea both expressed their understanding of the EU concern and indicated that they would continue discussions on this issue in bilateral meetings. China indicated that it sought further information from the European Union in order to finish its risk analysis. There was a fruitful dialogue between both Members, and China called on the European Union to provide further information and maintain its close relationship with the Chinese scientific panel.

In March 2012, the European Union recalled that it had repeatedly raised concerns about the continued bans or restrictive conditions on bovine products from EU member States - allegedly because of BSE - that did not respect the international standards as required by the SPS Agreement. The OIE standard on BSE provided details regarding the disease and conditions for the safe trade of bovine products. Despite the long history of this concern, no Member had ever provided a scientific risk assessment that would justify any deviation from the international standard. The European Union urged, in particular, China, Japan and South Korea to bring their requirements into line with the international standards and the SPS Agreement, and Australia to quickly finalize its assessment process. The recent steps by the United States to align its import conditions with the OIE standard were welcomed, and a fast implementation of conditions in line with OIE standards was expected. The European Union urged all Members to fully align their BSE-related requirements with the OIE standards and thus establish fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and scientifically justified requirements.
Korea indicated its willingness to continue bilateral discussions on this issue.
China recalled its cooperation with the European Union, including in 2011 a joint BSE prevention and control training that resulted in a productive exchange on the relevant science and technology, and the standards of the OIE. Although no consensus was reached on certain issues, China would continue to bilateral discussions on the relevant technical issues.
Japan reported that it had already started discussions with the European Union, and that its Food Safety Commission Risk Assessment Body was requested in December 2011 to conduct a risk assessment on beef imports from France and the Netherlands. This risk assessment was conducted in a neutral and fair manner on the basis of scientific data. The Food Safety Commission would assess the risk of beef from the other EU member States when the necessary information was verified, including through onsite investigation and collection of data.

In July 2012, the European Union observed that many trading partners continued to impose unjustified bans or restrictions relating to BSE, although more than half of these countries did not benefit from official BSE classification by the OIE as did the EU member States. The European Union urged Korea to make tangible and predictable progress to bring its import conditions into line with the OIE standards. This request was particularly urgent as Korea had opened its market to other trading partners which had the same BSE status as most of the EU member States. China was still keeping its market closed, claiming a lack of scientific information, although there was sufficient evidence regarding the EU BSE situation. The European Union requested China to provide the scientific risk assessment that would justify deviations from the OIE standard, or to immediately start the administrative procedures to implement the international standards. The European Union requested Japan to continue progress on pending applications so that trade could soon resume. The European Union noted the recent steps taken in the United States towards bringing its requirements into line with the OIE standards, and urged all Members to fully align with the OIE standards and establish fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and science-based rules.
China indicated that bilateral talks had taken place with the European Union on the BSE issue at various levels. China had repeatedly presented its views on BSE and emphasized that no international organization could deny countries the right to present their views based on science. A lot of work had been carried out by China on risk analysis regarding BSE.
Japan recalled that its food safety committee had started the risk assessment of beef from France and the Netherlands, and this was being discussed by experts. As for other EU member States, additional consultations were needed. Japan remained open for further co-operation with the European Union to resolve the issue.
Korea noted the on-going active communication between Korea and the European Union on the issue at the technical level. Additional discussions at the technical level were needed, and were in the interest of both sides.

In October 2012, the European Union observed that many trading partners continued to impose unjustified bans or restrictions relating to BSE, although some of these countries did not benefit from official BSE classification by the OIE as did the EU member States. The European Union once again urged Korea to make tangible and predictable progress to bring its import conditions into line with the OIE standards and requested China to quickly proceed with pending market access applications. The European Union welcomed the recent developments in Japan, where the risk assessment with regard to imports of beef had been submitted for public consultation. As a result of the scientific outcome, the European Union looked forward to beef exports being resumed in the near future. The European Union noted the recent steps taken in the United States and Australia towards bringing their requirements into line with the OIE standards, and urged all Members to fully align with the OIE standards and establish fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and science-based rules.
China indicated that the issues surrounding BSE were particularly sensitive and technical, involving not only the proper handling of animal health and husbandry, but also directly affecting China-EU co-operation and trade. China had provided thorough information to the European Union in relation to its scientific justification. Recognizing the importance of the issue particularly for exports from the Netherlands and Ireland, China had jointly organized co-operation activities with the European Union including technical exchanges among experts, seminars and technical visits. These exchanges focused on topics related to the science, technology and the OIE standards. However, no consensus had been reached on some issues. China would continue co-operation exchanges with EU technical experts in a scientific and pragmatic manner in order to solve the relevant technical problems. China had signed an MOU with Ireland for the establishment of a joint working group on BSE.
Korea indicated that it was actively engaged in bilateral discussions with the European Union, including discussions this same week, and would continue to have discussions with the European Union in this regard.
Japan reported that the risk assessment process was underway, specifically for beef from France and the Netherlands. Japan would continue close consultations with the European Union and its member States.

In March 2013, the European Union welcomed the notification from Thailand on the alignment of its SPS measures with the international standards on BSE, and appreciated that Japan had authorised access of bovine meat from EU member States. Nevertheless, many trading partners continued to impose unjustified bans or restrictions relating to BSE, although some of them did not benefit from official BSE classification by the OIE as did EU member States. Furthermore, in some cases EU products faced discrimination compared to other trading partners with a similar or even less favourable risk status. China was still keeping its market closed, despite the detailed information provided about the EU animal and food safety system, and had not provided a risk assessment to justify its measure. The European Union urged China to bring its import conditions into line with the OIE standards and to remove the unjustified restrictions against EU beef and beef products. The European Union welcomed the process in Korea to assess applications received from some EU member States and urged Korea to proceed in a speedy manner to ensure market access for EU beef, given that Korea had opened its market to other trading partners which had the same BSE status as EU member States. The European Union noted the on-going processes in the United States and Australia towards aligning their import conditions with the OIE standards and looked forward to effective market access without any further delay. The European Union urged all Members to fully align with the OIE standards and establish fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and science-based rules.
China indicated that in its many bilateral discussions it had repeatedly informed the European Union on its policies regarding BSE. BSE was still a high risk disease in the EU area, as in the last three years approximately 90 BSE cases had been reported. In addition, BSE continued to be a very sensitive and complicated issue for which scientific knowledge was insufficient to be able to interpret the transmission mechanism of the disease worldwide. The recent horse meat issue in the European Union further reinforced its lack of confidence in the EU control system for animal and animal products. China's BSE restrictive measures, put in place in 2004, were based on a risk analysis and the changes in its trading measures for Canadian beef in 2012, were based on the results of its risk assessment. China invited EU member States to exchange information on technical issues and indicated that it would review its measures concerning BSE according to the outcomes of future risk assessments.
The European Union could not accept that the horse meat issue be linked with the effectiveness of its oversight system, given the very detailed explanation that it had provided to the SPS Committee under a previous agenda item. The information provided clearly showed how the European Union had quickly and transparently identified a case of fraud and this issue was being addressed with full determination.
Korea indicated that it had closely discussed this issue with the EU delegation and had already started a risk analysis on beef from EU member States. Korea would proceed carefully with the risk analysis in order to protect consumer's health, and would continue to have close dialogue with the EU delegation.
Japan reported that its Food Safety Commission had completed an evaluation report in October 2012 and on the basis of its findings had lifted the ban on imports of cattle aged up to 30 months from the United States, Canada, France and the Netherlands. The European Union thanked Japan for the changes in its measures and for its continued engagement in the process.

In June 2013, the European Union reported that the General Session of the OIE had positively evaluated and recognised the EU risk status related to BSE. The European Union appreciated Brazil's relaxation of its BSE-related import measures and encouraged Brazil to bring these conditions further in line with the OIE standard and to notify these changes to allow partners to provide comments. Unjustifiable trade restrictions were still in place in a number of other countries and the European Union urged China to base its measure on the OIE standard and lift the ban on EU beef. The European Union welcomed the on-going work carried out by Korea and urged Korea to deal swiftly with all EU applications. The US and Australia's on-going process to align their BSE import conditions with OIE standards was appreciated and closely followed by the European Union and further progress towards real trade market access was now expected without undue delays.
Korea noted that it had been conducting a risk analysis on imported EU beef and had been in close dialogue with the European Union on the matter. Korea looked forward to continued co-operation with the European Union to move the process forward in a timely manner.
China recalled that BSE continued to be a very sensitive and highly technical issue for which scientific knowledge was still insufficient. A risk analysis was carried out with the co-operation of relevant EU member States, but experts of both parties had failed to reach consensus. Further research, communication and discussion were necessary. China expressed its willingness to continue cooperating and communicating with EU technical experts.

In October 2013, the European Union highlighted the importance of this concern as it related to one of the basic requirements under the SPS Agreement: that SPS measures adopted by Members be based on the relevant international standards. The European Union appreciated Singapore's relaxation of its BSE-related import measures and encouraged Singapore to bring these conditions further in line with the OIE standards and to notify these changes so that trading partners could provide comments. The European Union also noted in this regard that it had been three years since it had submitted its application to Australia and that Australia had not provided any scientific justification for the delay in finalizing its risk assessment. The European Union called upon Australia to finalize the process, which should lead to effective market access without undue delays.
China noted that the latent period of BSE was long and as there were no cases in China, an import prohibition of bovine cattle and related products was in place as a safety measure. According to Chinese legislation, it could conduct inspection and quarantine activities only after the BSE ban on certain EU member States had been lifted. Since 2010, OIE had released reports that a number of EU member States (France, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, etc.) still suffered from BSE and China noted that these had not applied for the ban to be lifted in China. Technical exchanges, including a seminar on BSE jointly held with the European Union, and the assignment of a technical person to participate in BSE prevention training had taken place. In March 2012, EU beef exports had been discussed at the 7th China-EU Summit. Although the experts on both sides had not reached consensus, a joint expert team had been established with relevant members in order to overcome technical issues.
Korea acknowledged the European Union's concern and emphasized that its government had been conducting import risk analysis on some EU member States' beef. Responses to questionnaires were awaited so as to proceed with the IRA process in a timely manner while conducting a close dialogue with Members in this regard.

In March 2014, the European Union again highlighted the importance of this concern. Unjustifiable trade restrictions relating to BSE were still in place in a number of Members, although OIE standards for safe trade had existed for more than 10 years. The European Union urged China to base its measures on the OIE standards and lift the ban on EU beef. The European Union welcomed the on-going work in Korea and urged Korea to deal swiftly with all EU applications. Australia's and the US on-going processes to align their BSE import conditions with OIE standards was appreciated, but should be completed without delay so as to now permit trade to occur. Australia should move from the eligibility already granted to some EU member States into real trade by setting out all the necessary subsequent steps, including health certificates. The European Union looked forward to tangible results in the near future.
China noted that the latent period of BSE was long, as it had previously explained.
Korea indicated that its authorities had been conducting import risk analysis on beef from some EU member States. Responses to questionnaires were awaited so as to proceed with the risk analysis in a timely manner. Korea maintained a close dialogue with the concerned Members in this regard.

In July 2014, once again, the European Union reiterated this concern. The European Union welcomed the recent opening of China allowing imports of live cattle from one EU member State as well as the announcement to lift the ban for meat from cattle under 12 months of age from another member State, but only after going through a lengthy approval procedure. Therefore, the European Union requested China to rapidly finalize all outstanding EU applications, some of them pending since 2005, and to increase transparency on the procedures required to lift the ban and on the risk analysis justifying it. The European Union welcomed the recent entry into force of the US BSE rule, but urged the United States to complete without further delay the evaluation procedures that would allow actual trade to take place. The European Union noted that Australia's alignment of its BSE import conditions with OIE standards was not yet satisfactory and requested Australia to quickly finalize its processes for effective market access.
China explained that as a country with a negligible BSE risk status, as recognized by the OIE in 2014, it took a cautious attitude on BSE measures. China had organized BSE risk assessment expert panels and provided questionnaires to applicant countries. For BSE-free countries such as Hungary and Latvia, beef access procedures had been initiated, while for BSE risk countries like France, Ireland and the Netherlands, technical exchanges and consultations were still on-going. The responses to the questionnaires would be reviewed and measures revised accordingly.

In October 2014, the European Union reiterated the importance of this concern and urged all Members to align their BSE requirements with OIE standards. The European Union welcomed the growing number of WTO Members recognizing the EU control system and the EU member States' negligible or controlled risk status. The European Union urged China, the USA and Australia to adjust their BSE requirements fully in line with OIE requirements, and to speed up the approval processes of bovine and beef products from the European Union. Furthermore, China's recent lifting of its ban on live cattle imports from one EU member State only suggested differentiation between identical or similar BSE conditions found in several EU member States. The European Union welcomed Saudi Arabia's recent lifting of restrictions on beef imports from the European Union. The European Union raised, for the first time, similar concerns regarding Turkey's import restrictions on beef from the European Union. The European Union had identified in particular testing requirements that were unjustifiable and too trade restrictive. The European Union stated that it was willing to continue to work closely with Turkey to avoid inconsistencies, and to find a quick, comprehensive and practical solution.
Turkey responded that its bovine import requirements were in line with international rules and that there were no unjustified restrictions on beef imports from the European Union. Importation was allowed from EU member States with negligible BSE risk status.
China explained that it had taken a cautious approach to BSE measures to protect public health and food safety. In 2014, according to OIE statistics, two BSE cases had occurred in Germany and one in Romania, which had raised doubts that the BSE risk was under control in the region. China had engaged in technical exchanges with the European Union and its member States to solve relevant technical issues. Since the BSE risk status, prevention and control levels were not fully harmonized among EU member States, China had carried out separate risk assessments. China had recently lifted the ban on veal from the Netherlands and had sped up the access approval procedures. Regarding BSE-free countries, China had accelerated relevant beef access procedures by signing a protocol with Latvia and by agreeing on a draft protocol with Hungary. China expressed its willingness to enhance the technical exchanges with the European Union to solve this issue.
Saudi Arabia thanked the European Union for its comments and co-operation, and emphasized that it would not hesitate to facilitate trade with Members.

In March 2015, the European Union reiterated the importance of this concern; SPS measures adopted by Members had to be based on relevant international standards. Unjustifiable trade restrictions relating to BSE were still in place in a number of Members, although OIE standards for safe trade had existed for more than ten years. The European Union welcomed the growing number of WTO Members recognizing the EU control system and the EU member States' negligible or controlled risk status. The European Union urged all Members to align their BSE requirements with OIE standards.
Specifically, the European Union welcomed the progress made by China, allowing beef exports from one EU member State and the lifting of the ban on two others. The European Union also welcomed the beginning of exports from one of its member States to the United States. The European Union urged China and the United States to provide more information on their import procedures that would allow exports from other member States. The European Union also urged Australia, South Korea and Ukraine to process the import applications submitted by the European Union in a speedy manner. The European Union reported that it had put in place a robust system for BSE in all of its member States, following the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. This system guaranteed that all bovine products placed on the EU market, imported and exported were safe. Against this background, the European Union urged all Members to lift the BSE ban on bovine and bovine products for the entire European Union within a reasonable period of time.
China explained that it attached great importance to exports of beef from the European Union and was actively carrying out technical exchange and co-operation with the relevant EU member States to solve technical problems. China further explained that it had carried out separate risk assessments for the relevant EU member States. For the member States without BSE cases, accelerated procedures were imposed. China noted that Hungary had exported to China while Latvia had signed a beef export protocol. China had also lifted the ban on some beef products from the Netherlands and Ireland. China was looking forward to enhanced technical exchange and consultation with the European Union to properly solve this issue.

In July 2015, the European Union reiterated the importance of this long-standing concern and restated the observations presented during the March 2015 meeting. The European Union again urged all Members to align their BSE requirements with OIE standards and welcomed progress made by China and United States by allowing imports from some member States to take place. The European Union urged Australia, Ukraine and Korea to progress rapidly to speed their import approval procedures. The European Union recalled also the international obligations of WTO Members, and its own high level of transparency towards other countries by providing technical information about the EU animal health and food safety system.
China reiterated the explanation that it had provided in March 2015 and recalled its interest in looking forward to enhanced technical exchange and consultation with the European Union on the prevention and control of BSE and other animal disease.

In October 2015, the European Union reiterated the importance of this long-standing concern and again urged all Members to align their BSE requirements with OIE standards. The European Union recalled also the international obligations of WTO Members and its own high level of transparency towards other countries by providing technical information about the EU animal health and food safety system. The European Union re-stated that science on BSE is indisputably clear to allow safe trade of many products and regretted, once more, the fact that many countries never provided a risk assessment justifying their deviations from international standards. The European Union looked forward to progress made with regard to the United States and welcomed the beginning of exports from one EU member State to China. The European Union also urged China to complete the procedures that would allow beef imports from all other interested EU member States. Finally, the European Union urged Australia, Korea and Ukraine to speed up their import approval procedures.

In March 2016, the European Union reiterated the importance of this long-standing concern. A few countries still kept a ban in place, even though the scientific evidence had proven that safe trade of beef could take place regardless of BSE country risk status. The European Union again urged all Members to respect international rules and align their measures with OIE standards. While some Members had lifted the bans, the European Union regretted, once more, the fact that many countries never provided a risk assessment justifying their deviations from international standards. The European Union welcomed the recent lifting of the ban by Japan for two further EU member States, making a total of seven EU member States that could now export beef to Japan. In relation to China and the United States, the European Union welcomed the start of the process for current applications which it hoped would be expeditious. The European Union also welcomed Argentina and Ukraine's lifting of the bans, citing this as a good example of rapid implementation. Finally, the European Union encouraged all Members, such as Australia and Korea, to proceed in a swift manner to lift the bans and hoped that the backlog of applications submitted by EU member States would soon disappear.

In June 2016, the European Union reiterated the importance of this long-standing concern. A few countries still kept a ban in place, even though the scientific evidence had proven that safe trade of beef could take place regardless of BSE country risk status. The European Union again urged all Members to respect international rules and align their measures with OIE standards. While some Members had lifted the bans, the European Union regretted, once more, the fact that many countries never provided a risk assessment justifying their deviations from international standards. The European Union welcomed the recent lifting of the ban by Japan for two further EU member States, making a total of seven EU member States that could now export beef to Japan. In relation to China and the United States, the European Union welcomed the start of the process for current applications which it hoped would be expeditious. The European Union also welcomed Argentina and Ukraine's lifting of the bans, citing this as a good example of rapid implementation. Finally, the European Union encouraged all Members, such as Australia and Korea, to proceed in a swift manner to lift the bans and hoped that the backlog of applications submitted by EU member States would soon disappear.

In October 2016, the European Union reiterated the importance of this long-standing concern, recalling its conviction that BSE-related science was solid and that the relevant OIE standards guaranteed safe trade. On the other hand, the European Union recalled that some WTO Members kept longstanding, discriminatory and unjustified bans in place due to BSE arguing the need for a further (and often too long) assessment before imports could take place, even for commodities (e.g. beef) declared by the OIE as safe. All of this was contrary to various principles of the SPS Agreement and the OIE. On a positive note, the European Union welcomed the recent market access granted by the United States to an additional EU member State, as well as the beginning of exports to China from some EU member States. The European Union urged these and other Members - such as Australia, Malaysia and South Korea - to swiftly proceed in order to ensure that beef from the European Union could be exported and hoped that the backlog of applications submitted by EU member States would soon disappear.

In March 2017, The European Union reiterated the importance of this long-standing concern, recalling its conviction that BSE-related science was solid and that the European Union fully followed the relevant OIE standards that guaranteed safe trade. However, some WTO Members kept bans in place due to BSE, arguing the need for further assessments before imports could take place and which could amount to undue delays and lack of transparency in the approval procedures, contrary to Article 8 of the SPS Agreement. The European Union also stressed the SPS requirement that WTO Members not discriminate between Members where identical or similar conditions prevail, as was the case in European Union member States, following the strict implementation of the European Union's harmonized SPS framework.

The European Union welcomed the recent market access granted by the United States to an additional EU member State, and the lifting of China's import ban on products from some EU member States. The European Union urged those and other Members - such as Malaysia and Korea - to ensure that beef from the European Union could soon be exported and address the backlog of applications submitted by EU member States.

In July 2017, the European Union reiterated the importance of this long-standing concern, recalling its conviction that BSE-related science was solid and that the European Union fully guaranteed safe trade of beef. However, it noted that some WTO Members had kept BSE-related bans in place, arguing the need for further assessments, which could amount to undue delays in the approval procedures, contrary to Article 8 of the SPS Agreement. The European Union also stressed that it had a harmonized SPS framework which was strictly implemented in all its member States, and therefore urged Members not to discriminate among its member States. The European Union appreciated the progress made by Australia, the United States and China and encouraged them to finalize all pending applications submitted by EU member States. The European Union also urged other Members, including Malaysia, South Africa and South Korea, to proceed in a speedy manner on pending applications submitted by EU member States. Finally, the European Union reiterated its openness to continue working with all trading partners.

In November 2017, the European Union reiterated the importance of this concern, recalling BSE-related science on the safe trade of beef regardless of the BSE country risk status, as stated by the OIE. The European Union regretted that after fifteen years, some countries maintained their BSE-related bans, which contradicted their obligations under the SPS Agreement. The European Union also underlined the lack of transparency of some Members' import procedures, noting that South Korea had not responded to the market access application submitted by EU member States since 2006, urging for an expedient resolution on this issue. The European Union also urged other Members, including Malaysia, to promptly allow imports of safe beef from the European Union. The European Union also urged the United States and China to continue lifting their import bans for all pending EU member States. The European Union also appreciated positive developments in Chinese Taipei and Japan.

In March 2018, the European Union reiterated the importance of this concern, recalling BSE-related science on the safe trade of beef regardless of the BSE country risk status, as stated by the OIE. The European Union regretted that some countries maintained their BSE-related bans, which contradicted their obligations under the SPS Agreement. The European Union also underlined the lack of transparency of some Members' import procedures, as well as undue delays in approval procedures of some Members. The European Union appreciated the positive developments in China, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei and the United States, and further urged all Members to promptly allow imports of safe beef from the European Union.

In July 2018, the European Union reiterated the importance of this concern, noting that there was no longer an BSE-related crisis, and that science had proven that safe trade of beef could take place regardless of the BSE country risk status. The European Union requested WTO Members to lift BSE-related import bans, not to require overly burdensome information, nor to treat safe commodities, as defined by OIE, as non-safe commodities. The European Union urged Members to observe international standards, or to provide a risk assessment to justify deviations, and not to discriminate between countries with the same BSE status. The European Union regretted the undue delays faced regarding approval procedures in many countries, and urged countries to lift remaining BSE-related restrictions on imports for all EU members States and to apply international standards. The European Union appreciated the positive developments in China, Chinese Taipei and Japan regarding EU member States' applications for beef, and hoped that they would proceed with other pending market access applications. The European Union also urged Korea to finalize EU member States applications which have been pending for a very long time.

In November 2018, the European Union reiterated its concern, noting unjustified undue delays in several Members regarding import approval procedures for safe commodities as defined by OIE. The European Union noted that longer approval procedures due to insufficient resources would constitute significant trade barriers in violation of Article 8 of the SPS Agreement. The European Union welcomed positive developments in China, Japan, and Chinese Taipei regarding certain EU member States applications, and hoped that they would proceed swiftly with all pending EU applications. The European Union urged Korea to finalize pending EU member States applications without any further delays. Finally, the European Union urged all Members to align their BSE requirements with OIE standards and to lift restrictions, particularly to allow trade in safe commodities (e.g. beef) regardless of the BSE country status.

In March 2019, the European Union reiterated its concern on the unjustified approval delays its beef exports faced due to BSE concerns. The European Union considered that those restrictions did not take into account existing science and were inconsistent with Article 8 and Annex C of the SPS Agreement. The European Union welcomed positive developments in Japan and hoped that remaining applications could be finalized shortly. Meanwhile, it reported slow progress with Chinese Taipei and Korea. The European Union urged Members to lift remaining restrictions on all EU member States and apply international standards for the trade in beef products, as contained in the OIE Code.

In July 2019, the European Union reiterated its concerns about the unjustified and long delays in approving imports of beef from the European Union due to concerns of several WTO Members related to BSE. The European Union regretted that Members were ignoring existing science, and that their delays breached Article 8 and Annex C of the SPS Agreement. The European Union welcomed the progress made by Japan in approving several member States and by Korea towards opening up its market for beef from some EU member States.