STC Number - 277

NAPPO draft standard for ships and cargoes from areas infested with Asian gypsy moth

Maintained by: Canada; Mexico; United States of America
Raised by: China
Supported by: Indonesia; Japan; Korea, Republic of
First date raised: October 2008 G/SPS/R/53, paras. 112-120
Dates subsequently raised: February 2009 (G/SPS/R/54, paras. 128-135)
June 2009 (G/SPS/R/55, paras. 136-140)
October 2009 (G/SPS/R/56, paras. 149-154)
June 2010 (G/SPS/R/59, paras. 54-56)
Number of times subsequently raised: 4
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/880 + G/SPS/N/CAN/281/Rev.1
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; International Standards / Harmonization; Invasive species; Plant health; Sufficiency of scientific evidence; Territory protection
Status: Resolved
Solution:
Date reported as resolved: 16/10/2013

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2008, China raised concerns relating to a draft regional standard of the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) entitled "Guidelines for Regulating the Movement of Ships and Cargoes Aboard those Ships from Areas Infested with the Asian Gypsy Moth". This standard would require NAPPO members (Canada, Mexico and the United States) to impose strict phytosanitary measures on ships and cargoes including from China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Russia. More detailed information was presented in G/SPS/GEN/880.
China had the following concerns regarding the draft standard: (1) if passed and implemented, it would have serious impacts on international trade; (2) it was inconsistent with Articles 2.2 and 5.6 of the SPS Agreement; and (3) it had ambiguities regarding the technical application of the measure in different NAPPO countries and in different climatic conditions. China urged NAPPO members to delay the implementation of the standard until it was recognized by relevant organizations including the IPPC.
Indonesia, Japan and Korea indicated that they shared the concerns raised by China regarding the draft NAPPO standard.
The United States reported that the NAPPO standard pertaining to inspection and certification requirements related to the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) was still in a draft form, and more changes could be made based on comments submitted by concerned countries. China had declined an invitation to participate in a meeting held in October 2008 to allow trading partners to present their concerns regarding the standard. A harmonized standard among the three NAPPO members would allow ships to enter any port in a NAPPO country after being approved by the first port of call. Finally, the United States invited Members with concerns to engage in discussions with NAPPO members regarding this issue.
Canada supported the United States and stated that previous incursions of AGM had caused serious and costly problems for Canada. Mexico supported the interventions made by the United States and Canada.
China stated that technical comments had already been sent to the NAPPO secretariat and hoped that further meetings could be held between NAPPO members and the concerned countries.
The European Communities reported that it had not taken new measures on AGM, but it remained vigilant to any potential risk. There were parallels between this issue and ISPM 15 on wood packaging material that had previously been extensively discussed in the Committee. The European Communities hoped that similar solutions to the AGM problem could be found.
Norway expressed interest in this issue and its impact on Norway's exports.
Mali asked if there were quarantine measures against AGM and whether the pest existed in the NAPPO countries. The United States clarified that this pest was not present in NAPPO countries and that it was very invasive. Based on this information, Mali agreed that NAPPO countries should take the necessary measures to prevent the entry of AGM into their countries.
In February 2009, the representative of China reported that it had maintained good communications with officials from NAPPO countries. The draft standard had been revised and was undergoing a second comment soliciting process. Technical expert groups from NAPPO had been sent to China, Japan and Korea for exchange of information, including on risk assessment. China welcomed the open and transparent working procedures of the NAPPO countries. China requested NAPPO countries not to adopt the standard until comments and concerns were taken into account. In addition, China recalled the provision in Article 2.2 of the SPS Agreement SPS measures must be based on scientific evidence.
China also reported that the occurrence of AGM had been significantly reduced in its territory, and joint surveillance with the United States in some Chinese ports showed that no AGM was detected. China further recalled the SPS Agreement provision for the least trade-restrictive measure to be applied. China acknowledged the legitimate objective pursued by NAPPO, but any SPS measure must comply with the relevant provisions of the SPS Agreement.
Japan supported the statement by China, and also appreciated NAPPO's transparent and open procedures. Japan underlined that the proposed standard could result in a huge impact on the trade between Japan and NAPPO countries. Japan was undertaking consultations with its relevant stakeholders before submitting its comments to NAPPO, and requested that the draft standard on AGM not to be adopted until its comments were duly considered.
Indonesia reported that it had similar concerns on the draft NAPPO standard on AGM, which was a pest listed in its regulation for quarantine measures. Indonesia supported the objectives of RSPM 33, but further studies were needed on the possibility of the insects to survive long distance journeys from Indonesia to North America in cargoes. Lastly, Indonesia stated that it followed the recommendations and treatments provided in ISPM 15 in all of its shipping from Indonesia to North American countries.
Korea shared the concerns raised by China and Japan, and expressed regret that the draft standard on AGM did not consider the low prevalence of this pest in Korea. Korea argued that the draft standard might pose an excessive restriction on trade, and did not consider other less-restrictive treatments that were available. Korea highlighted the need for scientific justification, which it had recently conveyed to NAPPO.
Canada underlined that the NAPPO measure on AGM aimed at controlling a real risk to North American forests, which had been affected by AGM in the past resulting in a multi-million US dollar process for eradication. NAPPO members were aware of the trade impact and the costs associated with control measures, and it was in NAPPO members' interest to keep shipping costs low for both imports and exports. The draft regional standard had been developed to be no more trade restrictive than necessary to effectively address the risks associated with AGM. Regular meetings with trading partners had been held, including visits from NAPPO members' experts to China, Japan and Korea. The results from these consultations would be taken into account in the elaboration of the regional standard.
The United States affirmed that AGM was a highly invasive pest, not present in North America, and which had been found on a number of occasions in port areas in North America. The NAPPO Pest Risk Assessment Panel had conducted a risk assessment which concluded that NAPPO members should adopt specific phytosanitary measures to prevent the introduction of AGM in North America. This risk assessment was available upon request, and was the basis for the draft NAPPO standard for AGM. The draft standard had not been adopted by the NAPPO Executive Committee at its October 2008 annual meeting, due to the number of public comments which were still being reviewed. In February 2009, a NAPPO delegation had held a constructive meeting with Chinese regulatory officials to discuss the draft standard. Similar cooperative initiatives were being undertaken with Japan and Korea. The United States assured its trading partners that the applied phytosanitary measures would be consistent with the WTO rights and obligations.
Mexico corroborated the statements by the United States and Canada, and indicated that Mexico attached high importance to the topic. Mexico looked forward to continuing to work with concerned trading partners to mitigate any potential risk of introduction of AGM into North America.
Chile inquired whether phytosanitary standards developed by regional organizations were considered international standards or regional standards according to the SPS Agreement.
The Secretariat clarified that the SPS Agreement makes clear reference to international standards for plant health as being the ones developed under the auspices of the secretariat of the IPPC in cooperation with regional organizations operating within the framework of the IPPC. Therefore, standards developed by regional organizations alone were not likely to be considered by the SPS Agreement as an international standard. If WTO Members applied or incorporated those regional standards into their domestic legislation, however, then the SPS Agreement would apply.
In June 2009, China observed that the draft regional standard developed by NAPPO on AGM had a tremendous potential to impact trade between China and countries in North America. The draft standard pertained to all ports in China, whereas the AGM had historically been found only in the north-eastern part of China. The occurrence of the AGM in China had been reduced significantly, and a joint survey conducted by China and the USDA in 2008 identified no occurrence of AGM in China. China welcomed the open and transparent working procedure of the NAPPO countries, and noted that it had sent written comments on the revised draft standard at the end of February 2009. China stressed the need for scientific justification for the proposed measure, and requested that different geographic and climatic characteristics be taken into account. China invited NAPPO and its member countries to participate in a workshop in July that would highlight the preventive and control measures it had taken. China was concerned with the operability of the current draft standards, especially with regard to certification and inspection requirements, noting the impossibility of checking ships and cargo at night, as many ships departed before dawn. Moreover, as numerous non-plant related cargo such as cars and steel also had to be inspected, it would lead to an increase in costs, thus creating a barrier to trade.
Japan supported the statement by China, and stressed that the proposed standard could have a huge impact on international trade. Japan had submitted its comments at the end of April and requested that the revised draft standard not be adopted until its comments were duly considered. Korea and Indonesia shared the concerns raised by China and Japan and also requested that Member's concerns be taken into account.
Canada underlined that the NAPPO standard aimed at controlling a real risk to North American forests, which had been affected by AGM in the past with multi-million dollar costs for eradication. Since March 2009, six ships had been found with AGM egg masses on board. NAPPO members were aware of the trade impact and the costs associated with control measures, and it was in their own interest to keep shipping costs low for both imports and exports. The draft regional standard had been developed to be no more trade restrictive than necessary to effectively address the risks associated with AGM. Comments of all stakeholders would be taken into account when the standard was finalized in August 2009. Once the regional standard had been adopted, Canada, the United States and Mexico would work in a coordinated approach to consider direct impacts of the standard on trade.
The United States affirmed that AGM was a highly invasive pest, not present in North America, and which had been found on a number of occasions in port areas in North America. The regional standard was based on a risk assessment which was available upon request. The United States had been working diligently along with Mexico and Canada to solicit scientific and technical inputs from concerned countries. NAPPO experts travelled to China, Japan and Korea in February 2009 to consult directly with regulatory officials, leading to constructive inputs. In June 2009, the NAPPO forestry panel reviewed the comments received and a revised draft of the standard would be made available in August 2009. The United States assured its trading partners that the phytosanitary measures applied would be consistent with WTO obligations.
Mexico corroborated the statements by the United States and Canada. Mexico looked forward to continuing to work with concerned trading partners to mitigate any potential risk of introduction of AGM into North America.
In October 2009, China noted that this was the fourth time that it was raising this concern in an SPS Committee meeting. The "Guidelines for Regulating the Movement of Ships and Cargo from Areas Infested with the Asian Gypsy Moth" had been approved by the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) on 10 August 2009 with immediate effect. The Guidelines identified risk management options for the movement of ships and cargo from areas infected with Asian Gypsy Moth, such as inspection, systemic approaches, pest-free areas, certification, rejection of the shipment, refusal of entry etc. The guideline did not mention specific countries but stated that the pest was "present in temperate Asia, has been reported east of the Ural Mountains, but no definitive distribution information in eastern Europe is available." China reiterated its serious concerns regarding this standard, and the hope that the member countries of NAPPO would take these concerns and comments into consideration when developing specific implementation actions, in order to minimize the adverse impact of their SPS measures on international trade.
Korea supported China's intervention and noted that this standard was adopted without any critical reflection of concerned parties' comments, although this standard could have a negative impact on the international trade. Korea therefore asked NAPPO member countries to implement the standard in a manner which would minimize the negative impact on trade in accordance with the SPS Agreement and the relevant international standard. These measures should reflect the role and responsibility of the exporting and importing country in a balanced manner.
Japan supported the views of China and Korea, and intended to consult with NAPPO and its member countries on the implementation of this standard to ensure that the measure was economically and technically feasible and not more trade restrictive than necessary.
Canada noted that the NAPPO measure on AGM was being put in place to control the risk to North America's forests. NAPPO representatives had been diligent in ensuring that all concerned stakeholders, including the shipping industry, had been consulted. The standard would be phased in with full implementation taking place in March 2012. The measure had taken all possible SPS measures into consideration and had been developed to be no more trade restrictive than necessary to manage the risk. Furthermore, all NAPPO member countries were working with affected Members to come up with appropriate implementation plans and a number of Members had already participated in these meetings. The risk of introduction of AGM was acute; in 2009 Canadian authorities had detected egg masses on ten ships travelling from the region, and each egg mass contained thousands of eggs.
Chile questioned whether this issue belonged under the agenda item related to the monitoring of the use of international standards. Was it appropriate for the SPS Committee to raise this matter with NAPPO since it was not one of the three sisters? Chile suggested that this types of issues could addressed under specific trade concerns.
IPPC indicated that although regional plant protection organizations were recognized in the IPPC convention and often the regional organizations deposited regional standards with the IPPC, this did not make these an international standard. The IPPC work programme included consideration of the need for an international standard on the movement of pests via ship containers and vessels. In such situations, the IPPC might use a regional standard as the basis for the development of an international standard.
In June 2010, China raised concerns on Canada's notification circulated on 7 May 2010 concerning its plant protection policy for marine vessels which may carry Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM). China and other Members had previously expressed concerns about the application of the North American Plant Protection Organisation (NAPPO) regional standard on AGM. While China recognized Canada's rights to develop phytosanitary measures, China was concerned about the negative effect of the measure on exports and its scientific justification. China requested (i) that Canada provide a risk assessment report of AGM from Chinese-consigned marine vessels prior to implementing the draft regulation; and (ii) that the different climatic conditions of China's ports be considered in determining the risk of AGM. Finally, China suggested that required documentation for marine vessels should be limited to marine vessels that visited ports in regulated areas during the egg laying season of AGM within 1to 2 years to minimize unnecessary trade obstacles.
Korea referred to the comments it had sent on Canada's notification. Korea expressed concerns about the measure's proposed adoption date of 1 June 2010 and asked that the measure be implemented with minimum trade impacts.
Canada reported that it had had a constructive bilateral meeting with China prior to the Committee meeting. Canada reiterated that the NAPPO measure was being put in place to protect North American forests and pre-empt the high costs of eradication. In 2009 egg masses of AGM were found on ships from Asia. The standard was approved on 10 August 2009, had entered into force in 2010 and would be phased in by March 2012. Canada emphasized that all stakeholders had been consulted during that process, that it continued to take into account the concerns of its trading partners, and that a technical working group had been established to address concerns and risks in a collaborative manner.