STC Number - 287

Import restrictions on fresh pork meat and beef

Maintained by: South Africa
Raised by: Brazil
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2009 G/SPS/R/56, paras. 16-17
Dates subsequently raised: October 2011 (G/SPS/R/64, paras. 94-95)
March 2012 (G/SPS/R/66, paras. 59-60)
July 2012 (G/SPS/R/67, paras. 36-37)
Number of times subsequently raised: 3
Relevant documents: Raised orally; RD/SPS/28/Rev.1
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal; 0201 Meat of bovine animals, fresh or chilled.; 0203 Meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health
Status: Resolved
Solution: Information was received from Brazil on the resolution of this STC.
Date reported as resolved: 02/11/2017

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2009, Brazil reported that since 2006, Brazil had been exchanging information with South African authorities regarding restrictions on pork and beef products from Brazil. Three rounds of questions had been asked, and three sanitary negotiating missions had been sent to South Africa. South Africa had not provided any final results of its risk analysis on beef and pork. Brazil requested more conclusive information on the risk analysis processes that had been carried out, since Brazil fulfilled the requirements established by the OIE.
South Africa confirmed that a number of interactions had taken place with regards to the import of pork and beef into South Africa, most recently in July 2009. However, there were still some issues that required clarification with regards to the import of pork. The import of matured de-boned beef should be approved pending agreement on certificates.
In October 2011, Brazil expressed concerns that since 2005, South Africa had suspended imports of beef and pork meat from Brazil due to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the country. Numerous attempts to reopen the South African market to Brazilian pork had been blocked by repeated unnecessary requests for additional information. Brazil had also sent at least four missions to South Africa and had invited South Africa to hold bilateral meetings on the margins of SPS Committee meetings. Since 2006, Brazil had provided information on the country's sanitary status and responded to all questions from South Africa. In February 2010, intense negotiations had finally resulted in the authorization of exports of Brazilian bovine meat to South Africa, but not Brazilian pork meat. Although bovine and swine herds could be affected by FMD, the 2005 outbreak had affected only the bovine herd, and South Africa's delay in accepting Brazilian pork meat could not be scientifically justified. Brazil requested that South Africa make a final, scientifically sound decision and promptly allow the importation of Brazilian pork meat.
South Africa affirmed that it was committed to resolve the problem soon, as demonstrated by the technical cooperation between South African and Brazilian officials. South Africa had experienced several devastating outbreaks of diseases in the pig population, including classical swine fever and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRSS), which had adversely affected South African pig production and cost close to a million dollars to eradicate. FMD was not the only disease of concern when importing pork meat. Although South Africa generally applied the concept of safe commodities as determined by the OIE, the OIE guidelines did not address all of the diseases of concern. South Africa continued to seek advice from the OIE on how to proceed regarding certain imports, considering the health status of its pig population. In particular, the OIE did not have guidelines for the importation of meat that differentiated between pathogenic and apathogenic diseases. South Africa ultimately aimed to develop a health certificate for the importation of pork which would ensure protection of its swine population.
In March 2012, Brazil recalled that South Africa banned Brazilian swine and bovine meat since 2005, and after intense negotiations and four technical missions, had authorized imports of bovine meat in February 2010. Although Brazil had answered all questions in relation to the control of swine disease, the repeated questions from South Africa had become a major and unnecessary obstacle to trade. The ban was unjustified as the FMD status of Brazil was higher than that of South Africa, and Brazil requested South Africa to promptly adapt its measures to the requirements foreseen in the SPS Agreement, so that exports of the affected products could resume soon.
South Africa stated that the concerns raised by Brazil were important to both countries and that it was committed to solve the issue. Since 2005, South Africa had experienced outbreaks of devastating animal diseases in the pig population, which were costly to eradicate. Porcine, reproductive and respiratory syndrome and classical swine fever had been eradicated from South Africa, which would seek advice from the OIE on how to proceed on certain imports while continuing to ensure the protection of its pig herd health. South Africa was in the final stages of developing an effective health certificate for the import of pork, and remained willing to continue bilateral discussions with Brazil and other interested countries.
In July 2012, Brazil noted that South Africa was the only country that still maintained an embargo against Brazilian products even though South Africa itself had been reporting cases of FMD in its territory, and Brazil's sanitary status in the OIE was higher than that of South Africa. The ban was unjustified and excessive. Since 2010, the embargo had been enforced mainly against Brazilian swine meat, while authorizing the import of some cuts of bovine meat, a position that was highly questionable from a scientific perspective as the 2005 outbreak only affected the Brazilian bovine herd. In 2010, South Africa had sent Brazil questions about diseases other than FMD. The requested information exceeded the necessary data requirements and seemed intended to delay the lifting of the embargo. The Brazilian government had engaged in consultations with South Africa and would evaluate the results of these consultations and decide on future steps. Brazil sought a negotiated outcome within the scope of the SPS Committee.
South Africa responded that the concern was very important to both countries and that it was committed to finding a solution.

In November 2017, the Secretariat informed that in September 2017 it had contacted all Members who had raised specific trade concerns (STCs) that had not been discussed in the previous year, to request an update on their status. In furtherance of this request, information was received from Brazil on the resolution of this STC. The Secretariat indicated that the information received had been circulated in document RD/SPS/28 of 31 October 2017, and that the SPS IMS would be updated on this basis, using the date of the November 2017 SPS Committee meeting as the date of resolution of the relevant STCs.