STC Number - 333

Trade restrictive measures due to the Schmallenberg Virus

Maintained by: Unspecified
Raised by: European Union
Supported by: Switzerland
First date raised: July 2012 G/SPS/R/67, paras. 18-19
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/1161
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Human health
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 2012, the European Union stated that it had been fully transparent with stakeholders and third country partners since the detection of the Schmallenberg virus (SBV). Recent evidence confirmed that SBV had a minor impact on livestock production, and that the risk of infection to humans exposed to SBV was absent or extremely low. In May 2012, OIE's World Assembly of Delegates had concluded that the risk posed by commodities such as meat, milk, semen and embryos was negligible, that the conditions to consider the infection as an emerging disease were no longer met and that the disease did not meet the criteria for listing by the OIE. The European Union requested all countries that had adopted restrictive measures on EU products to remove those restrictions. Any WTO Member maintaining trade restrictions should be able to provide scientific justification for the measure and demonstrate that the measure was proportionate to the risk. These Members should also be able to demonstrate that they were free from SBV and that similar measures were also applied against other viruses of the Simbu serogroup, both in their own territory and when dealing with other trading partners. The European Union urged Members to withdraw all restrictions imposed on its exports due to the occurrence of Schmallenberg virus. More detailed information can be found in G/SPS/GEN/1161.
Switzerland indicated that it had also encountered restrictions on its exports of live animals and genetic material, even though SBV had never been detected in the country. Switzerland agreed that SBV should be treated in the same way as other viruses of the same group, and that SBV-related trade restrictions on exports of ruminants and their products were unjustified. Switzerland requested that such restrictions be withdrawn without delay.