STC Number - 350

Prohibition of use and sale of treated seeds

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: March 2013 G/SPS/R/70, paras. 3.57-3.58
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/EU/39
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Other concerns; Plant health; Transparency
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2013, the United States noted that on 1 March 2013, the European Union submitted notification G/SPS/N/EU/39 regarding the prohibition of the use and sale in the European Union of seeds treated with plant protection products containing the active substances Clothianidin, Thiamethoxam or Imidacloprid. The European Union had provided an unusually short comment period of only 11 days. Given the complexity of this technical measure, the United States asked the European Union to extend the comment period to the recommended 60-days, to allow trading partners to review and provide comments.

The European Union explained that the short deadline was due to reasons connected with the legislative process and to the great priority of the issue for the European Union. Increasing bee mortality was an issue of concern worldwide and the proposal was based on science and justified by a very clear analysis published by EFSA last January. The proposal restricted the use of the three substances only on crops that were attractive to bees and provided derogations when the application of the substances took place after flowering. At this stage, the actual trade effects of the proposal were considered to be very limited, if not negligible. The measure envisaged a temporary suspension of these substances for a 2-year period, during which time new scientific data would be brought to light and studied. The European Union welcomed an open and constructive dialogue with its trading partners with an interest in the proposal and stated that comments could be submitted at any time.