STC Number - 369

Russia's measures on live pigs and pork products due to African Swine Fever

Maintained by: Russian Federation
Raised by: European Union
Supported by:
First date raised: March 2014 G/SPS/R/74, paras. 3.3-3.4
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/GEN/1305, G/SPS/GEN/1313, G/SPS/GEN/1315, G/SPS/N/RUS/48, G/SPS/N/RUS/49
Products covered: 01 Live animals; 05 Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Pest or Disease free Regions / Regionalization
Status: Not reported
Solution: DSU consultations requested on 08/04/2014 (WT/DS475/1). Panel established on 22/07/2014. Appellate Body report (WT/DS475/AB/R) and Panel report (WT/DS475/R and Add.1) adopted on 21/03/2017. Matter referred to 22.6 arbitration on 3 January 2018. The DSB established a compliance panel (Art. 21.5) on 5 December 2018 (WT/DS475/22). Compliance panel proceedings ongoing.
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2014, the European Union raised concerns regarding measures taken by Russia in response to the finding of African swine fever (ASF) virus in four wild boar in two EU member States: Lithuania and Poland (G/SPS/GEN/1305 and G/SPS/GEN/1313). The European Union had immediately delimited the affected areas and imposed stringent control measures. However, Russia had banned imports of live pigs, pork and certain other products from the entire EU territory, not just from the affected regions. Russia's claim that it was concerned about the spread of the disease into its own territory was unfounded as ASF was widespread in Russia. The disease was present in both wild boar and domestic pig populations in Russia, as Russia had taken insufficient measures to prevent the spread of ASF virus. Scientific studies showed that the virus found in Lithuania and Poland originated in Russia. The European Union thus contended that Russia's measure was disproportionate, more trade restrictive than necessary and discriminatory, and urged Russia to bring its measures in line with its WTO obligations and with international standards.

Russia noted that ASF had inflicted significant damage on the Russian economy since the first outbreak was confirmed in 2008. After this outbreak and much mortality among susceptible animals, a special commission was established in 2013 for the prevention and eradication of ASF. During this period, Russia had kept all trading partners fully informed on possible vectors of spread, and had requested that the European Union consolidate its efforts for ASF control. Apparently the European Union had underestimated the degree of the threat. Russia stressed that it imposed temporary restrictions on the importation of live pigs and pig products not subjected to adequate heat treatment only from those countries that had made relevant notifications to the OIE (Poland and Lithuania), not other EU member States. However, Russia insisted on EU compliance with the requirements of the veterinary certificates agreed in December 2012. These required certification that no cases of ASF had been found during the last 36 months within the territory of an EU member State (excluding Sardinia). There were currently insufficient guarantees that a zone or compartment had been effectively established and that the movement of goods within the EU territory was fully controlled. Furthermore, this was not a matter that could only be resolved without the involvement of the other members of the Eurasian Economic Community: Belarus and Kazakhstan. See also G/SPS/GEN/1315.

In accordance with the provisions of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU), the European Union requested consultations with Russia on 8 April 2014 (WT/DS475/1). The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established a panel on 22 July 2014 (WT/DS475/3). The panel report was issued on 19 August 2016 (WT/DS475/R). The appellate body report was issued on 23 February 2017 (WT/DS475/AB/R). The European Union requested the authorization to suspend concessions pursuant to Article 22.2 of the DSU. The Russian Federation objected to the level of suspension of concessions and referred the matter to arbitration pursuant to Article 22.6 of the DSU on 19 July 2016 (WT/DS430/17). Article 21.5 consultations requested on 30 January 2018 (by Russian Federation) and 7 February 2018 (by European Union). The European Union requested the establishment of a compliance panel pursuant to Article 21.5 of the DSU on 18 October 2018 (WT/DS475/21). The DSB established a compliance panel (Art. 21.5) on 5 December 2018 (WT/DS475/22).