STC Number - 358

India's import conditions for pork and pork products

Maintained by: India
Raised by: European Union
Supported by: Canada
First date raised: October 2013 G/SPS/R/73, paras. 3.4-3.6
Dates subsequently raised: March 2014 (G/SPS/R/74, paras. 3.23-3.25)
July 2014 (G/SPS/R/75, paras. 4.27-4.28)
October 2014 (G/SPS/R/76, paras. 3.31-3.33)
March 2015 (G/SPS/R/78, paras. 3.35-3.36 )
July 2015 (G/SPS/R/79, paras. 3.42-3.43)
October 2015 (G/SPS/R/81, paras. 3.70-3.71)
Number of times subsequently raised: 6
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/IND/98
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords:
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2013, the European Union noted that it had for several years been urging India to align its import conditions on pork and pork products with international standards. Currently, (a) India requested that the exporting country certify freedom from a number of diseases for which the OIE had not set an international standard, yet India had not provided a science-based justification for these import conditions; (b) India required exporting countries to have country freedom without contemplating the possibility of trade from established disease-free regions; (c) specifically with regard to import conditions for processed meat of pork origin, India required that the exporting country certify that meat was processed so as to achieve an internal temperature of not less than 70°C for 30 minutes, without allowing any alternative treatments. These requirements by India were not based on the relevant OIE and CODEX standards. The European Union further noted that under the SPS Agreement, import conditions should not be stricter than the measures applicable to the domestic market, and Indian legislation allowed non-heat treated processed pig meat within its domestic market.
The European Union urged India to bring its measures in line with the international standards or, alternatively, to provide a science-based risk analysis for each of the diseases for which India applied import conditions stricter than the international standards and also for its requirement to import only heat-treated processed pork meat. The European Union also urged India to recognise the principle of regionalisation, which was effectively applied in the European Union, instead of requiring country freedom for certain diseases.
India noted that a technical expert committee had been established within the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries. This committee reviewed all the technical aspects concerned in order to reach a decision on the relevant veterinary certificates. One meeting of the committee had already been held and another was scheduled to take place.

In March 2014 the European Union recalled its concerns on India's import requirements for pork and pork products and reiterated its request that such measures be brought in line with international standards. Currently, India required that the exporting country certify freedom from a number of diseases for which there were no OIE standards, yet India had not provided a science-based justification for these import conditions. India also required exporting countries to have country freedom without recognizing the possibility of trade from disease-free regions. Further, with regard to import conditions for processed meat of pork origin, India required that the exporting country certify that meat was processed so as to achieve an internal temperature of not less than 70°C for 30 minutes, without allowing any alternative treatments. These requirements were not based on the relevant OIE and CODEX standards. Under the SPS Agreement, import conditions should not be stricter than the measures applicable to the domestic market, yet Indian legislation allowed domestic non-heat treated processed pig meat to be sold. The European Union urged India to bring its measures into line with the OIE standards or, alternatively, provide a science-based risk analysis for each of the diseases for which India applied import conditions stricter than the international standards, and also for its requirement to only allow imports of heat-treated processed pork meat. The European Union also urged India to recognize the principle of regionalization, which was effectively applied in the European Union, instead of requiring country freedom for certain diseases.
Canada shared many of the concerns raised by the European Union. Canada's exports of pork and pork products to India had been blocked due to India's onerous import requirements. Canada's concern was with respect to India's requirements for countries to certify freedom from diseases for which the OIE had not set a standard. Canada looked forward to an update from India on the process and timeline anticipated to complete India's review of its import requirements.
India explained that its import requirements required freedom from certain diseases which were exotic to India. With a strengthened border surveillance system now in place, as communicated via bilateral channels, a technical expert committee was in the process of reviewing the import health certificate requirements, in light of the OIE standards, but without compromising domestic health requirements.

In July 2014 the European Union recalled its concerns on India's import requirements for pork and pork products and noted that it had for many years been requesting India to bring such measures in line with international standards. Specifically, the European Union requested India: (a) to require that the exporting country certify freedom only from diseases for which there were OIE standards and not from other diseases; (b) to require cooking of pig meat and to recognize the curing processes in accordance with the relevant Codex standards; (c) to apply the same conditions to non-heat treated processed pig meat, weather imported or produced in India; and (d) to provide a sound scientific justification to diverge from international standards.
India noted that the sanitary requirements were being revised and that the Secretariat and Members would be informed in due time.

In October 2014 the European Union recalled its concerns regarding India's import requirements for pork and pork products, and noted that it had been requesting India for many years to bring such measures in line with the international standards of the OIE. While according to international standards veterinary authorities should not require any condition to allow trade of "safe commodities", India had imposed trade bans and had never provided any sound scientific justification. The European Union requested that India: (i) require that the exporting country certify freedom only from diseases for which there were OIE standards and not from other diseases; (ii) require treatment of pig meat and recognize curing processes in accordance with relevant Codex Alimentarius standards; (iii) apply the same conditions to non-heat treated processed pig meat, whether imported or produced in India; and (iv) provide a sound scientific justification for diverging from international standards. While India had promised to review its import requirements on multiple occasions, this had not yet led to tangible results. The European Union urged India to respect its obligations under the SPS Agreement, OIE and Codex Alimentarius, and to lift its longstanding barrier to trade immediately.
Canada echoed the concerns of the European Union and emphasized that India had not provided any scientific rationale for its deviation from international standards. Canada also noted that India required freedom from several animal diseases for which the OIE did not recommend veterinary certification. Canada requested that India provide the Committee with a timeline for publishing revised import conditions for pork and pork products.
India noted that the sanitary import requirements were being revised and that Members would be informed in due time. India further explained that the mentioned revision was delayed by the recent cases of African swine fever in the European Union.

In March 2015 the European Union recalled its concerns regarding India's import requirements for pork and pork products, and noted that at the last four Committee meetings it had requested India to bring such measures into line with OIE standards. The European Union welcomed the effort made by India in its new import measures on pork and pork products as notified to the WTO. However, India had not yet adopted the regionalization principle, requiring a whole country to be free from animal diseases. India also still required exporting countries to certify freedom from diseases for which there were no OIE standards. The European Union requested that India provide scientific justification for such measures and fully respect its obligations under the SPS Agreement. The European Union also requested that India publish amended measures in a timely and transparent manner. The European Union remained open to cooperating with India to resolve this issue.
India explained that the measures were currently under review and had been notified on 16 March 2015 (G/SPS/N/IND/98). India invited all Members to submit their comments in writing through the relevant authorities for due consideration.

In July 2015, the European Union thanked India for the notification on its certificate for import of pork and pork products (G/SPS/N/IND/98). The European Union welcomed India's introduction of the regionalization and of references to alternative requirements to the Indian laws based on OIE and Codex standards. The European Union urged India to take into account its comments in finalizing the certificate and to allow imports quickly. The European Union requested that India provide a solid risk analysis demonstrating, for example, that the diseases included in the health certificate were transmitted by pork or pork products and that they pose a significant risk to India. The European Union asked India to make a series of specific changes to the certificates. The European Union was concerned because despite repeated requests, it had not received any scientific justification from India for deviating from the OIE standards, and because the Indian requirements would unnecessarily and unjustifiably restrict trade in safe products. The European Union requested that India notify the health certificate for imports of live pigs. The European Union welcomed future discussions to allow imports of safe products to India.
India explained that the requirements were being developed taking into account comments received from Members in accordance with paragraph 5(d) of Annex B. Comments had been received from Canada, South Africa and the United States, but not from the European Union.

In October 2015, the European Union recalled its concerns regarding India's import requirements for pork and pork products, and noted that it had been requesting for many years that India bring its measures in line with OIE standards. At the July 2015 meeting it had thanked India for the notification on its certificate for import of pork and pork products (G/SPS/N/IND/98). The European Union welcomed India's introduction of regionalization and of references to alternative requirements to the Indian laws, based on OIE and Codex standards. The European Union urged India to take its comments into account in finalizing the certificate and to allow imports quickly. The European Union requested that India provide a solid risk analysis demonstrating, for example, that the diseases included in the health certificate were transmitted by pork or pork products and that they posed a significant risk to India. The European Union asked India to make a series of specific changes to the certificates. The European Union was concerned because despite repeated requests, it had not received any scientific justification from India for deviating from the OIE standards, and because the Indian requirements would unnecessarily and unjustifiably restrict trade in safe products. The European Union requested that India notify the health certificate for imports of live pigs. The European Union welcomed future discussions to allow imports of safe products to India.
India thanked the European Union and stated that this issue demonstrated India's commitment to harmonize its regulations with international standards. India had received comments from Canada and the United States on G/SPS/N/IND/98 within the 60-day comment period. Consultations on comments received had concluded in September 2015. India explained that the veterinary certificates needed to be legally vetted, which could take time.