STC Number - 248

Regionalization for bovine and pig meat products

Maintained by: Korea, Republic of
Raised by: Brazil
Supported by:
First date raised: February 2007 G/SPS/R/44, paras. 19-20
Dates subsequently raised: June 2007 (G/SPS/R/45, paras. 40-41)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 0201 Meat of bovine animals, fresh or chilled.; 0202 Meat of bovine animals, frozen.; 0203 Meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; International Standards / Harmonization; Risk assessment; Pest or Disease free Regions / Regionalization
Status: Resolved
Date reported as resolved: 11/11/2013

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In February 2007, Brazil raised concerns regarding the lack of recognition of provisions on regionalization by Korea. This raised serious doubts about the criteria used by Korea for its risk assessment and for establishing its appropriate level of protection (ALOP). Despite various requests, Korea never informed Brazil about the sanitary import requirements for beef and pig meat, but claimed that specific import conditions could not be established because Brazil was not free of FMD. This requirement was not in compliance with the OIE guidelines, nor with Articles 3, 5 and 7 of the SPS Agreement. The OIE did not establish different import requirements for meat from areas free from FMD whether with or without vaccination. Brazil sought to export meat from a zone free of FMD without vaccination, but Korea refused to discuss this issue before FMD was eradicated from all of Brazil without vaccination. Korea should provide the risk assessment which supported this measure, which did not conform to Article 6. Brazil appreciated the information on import procedures recently provided by Korea, but this did not meet Brazil's request. Korea required completion of a questionnaire and an on-site visit just to establish import requirements, whereas this was justified only in order to recognize disease-free status or evaluate veterinary services. Although a Member could determine its ALOP, the measure taken must have a scientific justification and be based on a risk assessment. It was also disappointing that Korea appeared to not even recognize the concept of regionalization.
Korea responded that it accepted the concept of regionalization as contained in Article 6, based on factors such as geography, etc, and this was included in Korea's import policy. However, Korea had not yet applied this policy with respect to FMD. Korea had experienced an FMD outbreak in 2002-2003, and had subsequently regained its status as FMD-free without vaccination at great cost. Because of this, Korea was very concerned about FMD and required suppliers to be free of FMD without vaccination. FMD outbreaks in several areas of Brazil in 2005 and again in 2006 led Korea to conclude that the FMD situation in Brazil was unstable, and that Brazil needed to establish FMD free zones through strict measures. Korean authorities were ready to continue discussing this matter with Brazil at the expert level.
In June 2007, Brazil stated that although Korea claimed to accept the concept of regionalization in general, it continued to refuse to apply regionalization in practice for FMD. This was contrary to both the SPS Agreement, and the OIE Code. If Korea wanted to maintain a measure that reflected a higher ALOP than that provided by the relevant international standard, Korea should provide the risk assessment supporting its measure. However, Brazil had not received any such information from Korea, and there had been no bilateral progress towards resolving the problem. Members should give full weight to the mechanism for raising specific trade concerns in the Committee; they should seek to resolve these problems and to avoid unnecessary barriers to trade.
Korea noted that an outbreak of FMD in Korea could bring social disruption and cause serious economic damage. Korean authorities were engaged in assessing the risk of importing heat-treated beef from all of Brazil, taking into account the OIE Code. Korea had sent a questionnaire in December 2006, and was awaiting Brazil's response. Korea was committed to continue bilateral talks to resolve this concern in a cooperative manner.