STC Number - 368

Import restrictions on confectionary products

Maintained by: Russian Federation
Raised by: Ukraine
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2013 G/SPS/R/73, paras. 13.1-13.2. See also STC 409.
Dates subsequently raised: March 2014 (G/SPS/R/74, paras. 3.13-3.14)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 1806 Chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Food safety; Human health; Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2013, Ukraine raised concerns about the non-transparent manner in which Russia had banned imports of confectionary products on 29 July 2013. This measure, based on the Resolution of the Federal Service on Customers' Rights Protection and Human Well-being Surveillance of Russia (No.01/8612-13-23), had not been notified and Russia's SPS Enquiry Point did not provide the relevant information requested by Ukraine on 8 August 2013. No official evidence concerning the alleged presence of contaminants (such as benzopiren) had been officially submitted to Ukraine. Despite bilateral consultations the import ban was still in place. Ukraine believed that the measure was unnecessary and unjustifiably strict, maintained without sufficient scientific evidence, and applied in a discriminatory manner, contrary to Annex C of the SPS Agreement. Ukraine requested Russia to provide an official detailed justification of its measure, or to immediately lift the ban and to bring its measure into line with the SPS Agreement and with its accession commitments.
Russia indicated that the reason for suspending Ukrainian confectionary product imports was largely outside the scope of the SPS Agreement. Not all imports of confectionary products had been suspended, but only of one particular brand from Ukraine. The ban was related to the long-term detection of labelling violations in these particular goods, and the fight against deceptive trade practices. The indication of the product categories did not correspond to the definitions in the Russian technical regulations. Russia had already held three rounds of consultations with the competent authorities of Ukraine, and an action plan developed to restart imports of confectionary products. Russia had provided an answer to Ukraine's request for notification but apparently this had not been satisfactory to Ukraine. A second set of answers by the competent authority made it clear that the measure in place was the same as that applied to domestic products. Russia considered that this trade concern had been resolved.

In March 2014 Ukraine reiterated its concerns regarding the non-transparent manner in which Russia had banned imports of confectionary products as of 29 July 2013. This measure, based on the Resolution of the Federal Service on Customers' Rights Protection and Human Well-being Surveillance of Russia (No. 01/8612-13-23), had not been notified. Furthermore, Russia's SPS Enquiry Point had not provided the information requested by Ukraine in August 2013. Ukraine appreciated the site visit conducted by Russia in October 2013 and the answers provided in March 2014, but despite the bilateral consultations, the import ban was still in place. Ukraine believed that the measure was applied beyond the extent necessary to protect human health, in a discriminatory manner and maintained without sufficient scientific evidence, and was contrary to Annex C of the SPS Agreement. Ukraine requested Russia to provide an official detailed justification of its measure or promptly lift the ban and bring its measure in line with the SPS Agreement.
Russia explained that suspension of imports of Ukrainian confectionaries was related to false labelling information and not SPS issues. Information requested from Ukraine had not yet been provided. Russia hoped to receive the relevant information soon in order to resume trade of these products with improved consumer information.