STC Number - 271

Restrictions on imports of swine meat

Maintained by: Mexico
Raised by: Brazil
Supported by:
First date raised: June 2008 G/SPS/R/51, paras. 25-26
Dates subsequently raised: February 2009 (G/SPS/R/54, paras. 21-23)
October 2009 (G/SPS/R/56, paras. 35-36)
March 2018 (G/SPS/R/90, para. 3.44)
July 2018 (G/SPS/R/92/Rev.1, paras. 4.55-4.56)
Number of times subsequently raised: 4
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 0203 Meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Pest or Disease free Regions / Regionalization; Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Good Offices/Consultations/Dispute Settlement
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 2008, Brazil raised concerns about Mexico's delay in recognizing Brazil's FMD-free areas, and failure to allow importation of Brazilian pig meat. The recognition process had been delayed by unjustifiable requests for additional information, resulting in a lengthy and costly process. Since June 2007, Brazil had requested Mexico to recognize the State of Santa Catarina as an FMD-free area without vaccination, based on OIE's decision at its 75th General Session. However, no response had been given, even though these concerns were raised by Brazil in bilateral consultations. Taking into account the recent decision by the Committee on regionalization, Brazil requested that a working plan containing time-lines and a date for finalizing the recognition process be established.

Mexico confirmed that Brazil had presented information to the competent authorities at the Mexico National Service for Agro-food Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA-SAGARPA). Those authorities were presently conducting technical analyses and Mexico hoped to provide a positive response to Brazil in the near future.

In February 2009, Brazil recalled that the State of Santa Catarina had been recognized as FMD free in 2007. In 2008, Brazil had requested the establishment of a working plan for recognition of this disease-free area, taking into account the Committee's Decision on Article 6 (G/SPS/48). Brazil had made important investments to achieve freedom from FMD without vaccination. Mexican authorities had promised a response, but none had been received, and no progress had been made. Brazil had proposed a new approach: Brazil had invited Mexico to use the good offices mechanism of Article 12.2 of the SPS Agreement and paragraph 6 of the Committee's working procedures, with the presence of a specialist from the OIE. Brazil was waiting for Mexico's response to this proposal and looked forward to the friendly and timely resolution of this issue based on OIE standards.

Mexico indicated that for pig meat, the information Brazil had provided to the Mexican authorities was being studied. Mexico had asked for information on Brazil's toxic residue control plan, which had been received in August 2008. In October 2008, Mexico had requested additional information about this toxic residue control plan, and again in February 2009, without receiving a response. Mexico's consideration of this issue would be able to continue when the information was received. The suggestion to use the Good Offices mechanism had only recently been received and forwarded to the capital. Brazil suggested that Mexico's request for information was related to a different trade concern regarding heat-treated meat (see STC 263 above). Brazil's residue plan was available on a website. All information on FMD freedom was available to Mexico, and in addition, the OIE had studied the information and there had been several bilateral meetings. There was no missing information at this stage, but if necessary, the information would be provided again.

In October 2009, Brazil stated that Brazil's pork had been facing serious restrictions to the Mexican market since 2006. Mexico's lack of recognition had resulted in import restrictions for Santa Catarina's pork exports. Brazil had tried without success to resolve the issue through bilateral discussions, and had proposed the use of the good offices of the SPS Committee chair. Mexico had not responded to this proposal. In July 2009, Brazil had received a new request from Mexico for very extensive information, much of which had already been previously provided. Brazil hoped that the new questionnaire was not a means to delay the opening of the Mexican market, and looked forward to Mexico's agreement to use the Chairperson's good offices.
Mexico stated that on 3 July 2009, three questionnaires were submitted to the Veterinary Services of Brazil regarding the import of beef, poultry and pork; however Brazil had not provided any response to the questionnaires. On 20 July 2009, Mexico, through SENASICA, sent remarks relating to Brazil's toxic residues program but no response had been received. Mexico was willing to continue bilateral discussions on the matter, and encouraged Brazil to provide the requested additional information needed to work further on the issue.

In March 2018, Brazil informed the Committee of the withdrawal of its specific trade concern against Mexico following recent bilateral discussions, and further indicated that a timeframe had been agreed to resolve this concern.

In July 2018, Brazil informed the Committee of the continuous bilateral dialogue with Mexico since 2007 on its sanitary requirements to export swine meat, following the OIE recognition of the State of Santa Catarina as free of foot and mouth disease without vaccination. Brazil also added that it had unsuccessfully suggested the use of the good offices of the SPS Committee Chair under Article 12.2 of the SPS Agreement and paragraph 6 of the SPS Committee's working procedures, with the presence of an OIE specialist. Brazil acknowledged the steps taken by Mexico, including inspections of slaughter sites in 2010 and 2014, as well as new proposals for joint sanitary certification for swine meat since 2015. However, Brazil regretted that no slaughterhouses had since been certified for exports and that the Mexican market remained effectively closed. Mexico had recently requested additional time to assess the documentation provided and to schedule a new inspection mission. Brazil urged Mexico to address the technical obstacles related to this issue without further delay, in compliance with Annex C of the SPS Agreement.

Mexico informed the Committee of the bilateral meeting held with Brazil prior to the SPS Committee meeting, where it had explained the status of the request and the following steps. The sanitary authorities of both countries had held productive meetings since the last SPS Committee meeting.