STC Number - 273

Health certificate ratification by national embassies

Maintained by: Oman; Unspecified
Raised by: European Union
Supported by:
First date raised: April 2008 G/SPS/R/49, paras. 57-58
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/OMN/22, G/SPS/GEN/1269
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Other concerns
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Other concerns
Status: Resolved
Date reported as resolved: 16/10/2013

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In April 2008, the European Communities expressed appreciation to Oman for respecting the transparency provisions and providing this notification. However the requirement being notified, that health certificates required ratification by national embassies, was not just a requirement imposed by Oman or by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Other Members were imposing a similar requirement. Health certificates issued by competent authorities' should not need to be ratified by embassies, as this lead to additional steps, fees, and undue delays. Furthermore, sometimes embassies refused to provide such ratification, creating additional trade delays and problems. The European Communities wanted to raise this issue before the problem became more widespread, and suggested that administrative procedures should be simplified and respect WTO provisions.
Saudi Arabia noted that although it was a member of the GCC, his comments were not being made on behalf of GCC members as a whole. It was noted that all possible efforts were being made to draft a manual that complied with the relevant international standards, particularly those of Codex. Although the measure was to have entered into force in January 2008, this had not yet occurred. Some concerns that had been identified should be resolved when the standard was revised. The draft was in Arabic, and many of the concerns were due to misinterpretations. An official English translation was underway and would be available along with the revision of the text. GCC countries were dependent on other countries for their food supply, and would make every effort to ensure fair trade for both sides. Saudi Arabia would discuss these issues bilaterally. and would also bring the matter to the attention of the GCC secretariat.