STC Number - 340

Requirements for importation of sheep meat

Maintained by: Turkey
Raised by: Australia
Supported by: United States of America
First date raised: October 2012 G/SPS/R/69 paras. 19-20
Dates subsequently raised: March 2013 (G/SPS/R/70 paras. 3.18-3.19)
June 2013 (G/SPS/R/71 paras. 4.27-4.28)
October 2013 (G/SPS/R/73 paras. 3.35-3.36)
March 2014 (G/SPS/R/74 paras. 3.26-3.27)
July 2014 (G/SPS/R/75 paras. 4.25-4.26 )
October 2014 (G/SPS/R/76 paras. 3.34-3.36 )
March 2015 (G/SPS/R/78 paras. 3.33-3.34 )
Number of times subsequently raised: 7
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/TUR/9
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2012, Australia raised concerns about the undue delay by Turkey in providing information regarding its measures on the importation of sheep meat, requested in April 2011. Australia recalled Turkey's obligations under the SPS Agreement to act in a transparent manner and to ensure that any SPS measure be based on scientific evidence, only applied to the extent necessary, and not unjustifiably discriminate between Members.

Turkey responded that its authorities were still working on the requirements and certification procedures for the importation of sheep meat, and that these would be in line with the SPS Agreement. Turkey also committed to sharing the outcomes with Australia as soon as these were completed.

In March 2013, Australia reiterated its concern with regard to the undue delays by Turkey in responding to its request for information on the import ban on sheep meat, which it first raised in April 2011. Australia highlighted that it was a safe and reliable supplier of sheep meat to approximately 100 countries and that it consistently met the relevant international SPS standards for trade in sheep meat. Australia reminded Turkey of its obligations under the SPS Agreement, with specific reference to Articles 2, 7 and Annex B of the Agreement. Australia advised that it had held bilateral discussions with Turkey in the margins of the meeting and hoped the issue would be resolved as soon as possible.

Turkey stated that fruitful bilateral discussions had resulted in the two countries agreeing upon a uniform health certificate model for beef and veal products. Turkey was aligning its national regulations with the EU acquis. Furthermore, a framework Law No. 5996 on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed had entered into forced in 2011, which was notified to the WTO. Turkey was in the process of preparing a uniform model certificate for sheep and goat meat, and was working to determine the minimum health requirements for these products. However, trade of live cattle and sheep continued without any disruptions.

In June 2013, Australia reiterated its concerns regarding Turkey's requirements for the import of sheep meat. Australia had been seeking information from Turkey regarding its import measures since April 2011, but despite raising this concern at both the 55th and 56th SPS Committee meetings, it had yet to receive a response. Australia was a safe and reliable supplier of sheep meat to some 100 countries and had consistently met all relevant international SPS measures for such trade. Turkey's measures appeared to contravene its obligations under the SPS Agreement, including Articles 2 and 7 and Annex B. Australia looked forward to the resolution of this issue.

Turkey responded that it was in the process of aligning its food safety legislation with that of the European Union. It had enacted many implementation measurements, but still needed to propose guidelines for sheep and goat meat. Turkey stated that it would send its model health certificate for sheep and goat meat to Australia and other interested Members once it was prepared.

In October 2013, Australia reiterated its concerns regarding Turkey's requirements for the import of sheep meat and its June 2013 meeting statement.

Turkey reiterated that it was in the process of aligning its food safety legislation with that of the European Union. In this context, Turkey had so far prepared certificates for beef, bovine meat, livestock and fishery products, while a uniform model certificate for other animal-origin products, including sheep- and goat-meat, was under process.

In March 2014, Australia reiterated its concerns over Turkey's requirements for the import of sheep meat, which it had raised at each Committee meeting since October 2012. In February 2012, Australia had provided Turkey with a draft bilingual sheep meat certificate based on EU requirements. Turkey had not acknowledged receipt of the draft certificate nor provided advice on its acceptability. Turkey's lack of response was not consistent with its obligations under the SPS Agreement.

Turkey responded that it was in the process of aligning its food safety legislation with that of the European Union. In this context, Turkey had prepared certificates for beef, bovine meat, livestock and fishery products. Development of a uniform model certificate for other products of animal origin, including sheep- and goat-meat, was underway.

In July 2014, Australia reiterated its concerns over Turkey's requirements for the import of sheep meat, which it had raised at each Committee meeting since October 2012. Turkey had indicated at previous meetings that it was in the process of aligning its food safety legislation with that of the European Union. However, Australia currently exported sheep meat to the European Union. In February 2012, Australia had provided Turkey with a draft bilingual sheep meat certificate based on EU requirements but Turkey had not acknowledged receipt of the draft certificate nor provided advice on its acceptability. Turkey's lack of response was not consistent with its obligations under the SPS Agreement.

Turkey indicated that following the adoption of its Law on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed, it had prepared model health certificates for beef, bovine meat, livestock and fishery products to align with EU standards. Development of a uniform model certificate for other products of animal origin, including sheep- and goat-meat, was underway. Efforts to determine the health requirements for the appropriate level of protection for the import of sheep- and goat-meat were also in process. Turkey was committed to resolving this trade concern and highlighted that the first Turkey-Australia Agricultural Steering Committee meeting would be held in October 2014, and field visits would be made to Australian abattoirs and meat processing facilities.

In October 2014, Australia reiterated its concerns over Turkey's requirements for sheep meat imports, which it had raised at each Committee meeting since October 2012. Turkey had indicated that it was in the process of aligning its food safety legislation with that of the European Union. In February 2012, Australia had provided Turkey with a draft bilingual sheep meat certificate based on EU requirements, but Turkey had neither acknowledged receipt of the draft certificate nor provided advice on its acceptability. Australia enquired when a response would be provided.

The United States shared Australia's concern and noted that importing countries should develop science-based standards in a timely manner when certification was required. The United States appreciated Turkey's willingness to work with US authorities to develop new certificates on import requirements, and requested that imports not be disrupted during the process of developing new standards.

Turkey noted that after bilateral meetings with Australia it had adopted its Law on Veterinary Services, Plant Health, Food and Feed, notified as G/SPS/N/TUR/9. Turkey had also prepared model health certificates for beef, bovine meat, livestock and fishery products aligned with EU standards. Development of a uniform model certificate for other products of animal origin, including sheep and goat meat, was underway. Efforts to determine the appropriate level of protection for imports of sheep and goat meat were also in process. Turkey was committed to resolving this trade concern, but highlighted that the first meeting of the Turkey-Australia agricultural steering committee planned for October 2014 had been delayed due to the heavy schedule of the Australian Minister of Agriculture. Turkey reiterated its openness for dialogue and close co-operation with Australia at different levels.

In March 2015, Australia repeated its concerns over Turkey's requirements for sheep meat imports, which it had raised at each Committee meeting since October 2012. Australia reported that it had held productive bilateral discussions with Turkey in the margins and hoped these discussions would lead to a satisfactory resolution of the issue. Turkey had advised that it had prepared a draft veterinary health certificate for sheep meat and undertook to provide a copy of the certificate and information on certification requirements upon receipt of an official written request from Australia.

Turkey explained that during a bilateral meeting, both delegations had determined that the measure was based on OIE standards. Turkey reiterated that certification requirements would be made available upon request and stressed that the measure was not intended to be a trade barrier. Turkey was open for further consultation with Australia to resolve this issue.