STC Number - 323

Import restrictions on pork and pork products

Maintained by: Malaysia
Raised by: European Union
Supported by: Canada; United States of America
First date raised: October 2011 G/SPS/R/64, paras. 32-35
Dates subsequently raised: October 2012 (G/SPS/R/69, paras. 55-56)
October 2013 (G/SPS/R/73, paras. 3.37-3.38)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: Raised orally.
Products covered: Pork and pork products.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Animal health; Food safety; Human health; Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2011, the European Union indicated that it had concerns with Malaysia's import restrictions on pork and pork products, imposed 1 July 2011. In bilateral discussions, however, the European Union had received guarantees that the restrictions would shortly be lifted. The European Union would continue to work closely with Malaysia to ensure that EU exports could resume in line with WTO obligations.

Canada shared the EU concerns as its pork and pork product exports had also been banned since 1 July 2011 without notification. Malaysia had not advised Canada about the revision to its import requirements or the ban, and Canada had received conflicting information from Malaysia with respect to import requirements for pork. Canada encouraged Malaysia to base import conditions on science, and consider a systems approval approach for pork imports, rather than a plant-by-plant approval.

The United States also expressed concerns that the new import requirements had been imposed without valid scientific evidence. The United States had been told in June 2011 that it could continue to export pork and pork products if it submitted an establishment questionnaire by 1 July 2011; however, imports had been stopped. The United States would continue to work with Malaysia to facilitate an audit of US food safety systems, but expected a successful audit that would allow all federally inspected pork establishments to be eligible to export to Malaysia.

Malaysia observed that bilateral consultations on this issue were on-going with the affected Members and it hoped to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

In October 2012, the European Union indicated that it still had concerns with Malaysia's import restrictions on pork and pork products. In recent bilateral discussions, Malaysia had indicated that it had addressed some of the outstanding EU concerns and would continue to follow-up closely with the European Union to find a rapid and durable solution. The European Union welcomed the positive signal and would continue to engage in constructive dialogue with Malaysia, with a view to rapidly resolving the issue through a transparent import process in Malaysia that guaranteed sustainable trade.

Malaysia reported that bilateral discussions were on-going and that it hoped to find a mutual solution to the matter as soon as possible.

In October 2013, the European Union continued to be confronted with trade restrictions on pork and pork products in Malaysia despite having raised its concern at prior meetings of the Committee. Malaysia imposed animal health related conditions for several animal diseases which deviated from OIE standards and were not based on a risk assessment. The process of approval for foreign abattoirs was unnecessarily lengthy and burdensome, and applications for approval were often not addressed by the Malaysian Department of Veterinary Service. In addition, EU exporters were confronted with a non-automatic import permit system which was unnecessarily lengthy and burdensome, and not transparent. The European Union was pleased to report that Malaysia had expressed its commitment to find a solution to the matter during a bilateral meeting held earlier during the week.

Malaysia noted that there had been bilateral discussions and positive developments on both sides, and hoped to find a rapid solution to the issue.