STC Number - 376

Australia's non-acceptance of OIE categorization for BSE

Maintained by: Australia
Raised by: India
Supported by:
First date raised: July 2014 G/SPS/R/75, paras. 4.11 - 4.12
Dates subsequently raised: October 2014 (G/SPS/R/76, paras. 3.24-3.25)
March 2015 (G/SPS/R/78, paras. 3.26-3.29)
July 2015 (G/SPS/R/79, paras. 3.31-3.34)
Number of times subsequently raised: 3
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; International Standards / Harmonization; Risk assessment
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 2014 India noted that this concern was similar to the one it had raised with the United States. Under Australia's new requirements, countries had to obtain clearance on their BSE categorization to be able to export beef products to Australia. India noted that Australia had also chosen to implement its own categorization process and voiced its concern with the potential multiplicity of systems, as well as the risk posed if national categorization processes ran counter to OIE's categorization. India requested that Australia accept its categorization as designated by the OIE, in order to resolve this issue.
Australia noted that this concern was being raised for the first time in the Committee and that bilateral discussions had been held on the margins of the meeting to identify India's concerns. Australia reserved its right to conduct its own assessment on the status of India or any other Member, in relation to diseases of biosecurity concern, including BSE, in accordance with its current policies and appropriate level of protection.

In October 2014 India also reiterated its concern regarding Australia's non-acceptance of its OIE categorization as negligible risk country for BSE. India noted that Australia had chosen to implement its own categorization process and voiced concerns about the multiplicity of systems, as well as the risk that national categorization processes would contradict the OIE's categorization. In order to resolve this issue, India requested that Australia accept the OIE categorization.
Australia offered to conduct meetings in Delhi or at the margin of the ongoing SPS Committee meeting in order to resolve this issue bilaterally. Australia reserved its right to conduct its own risk assessments on the status of India or any other Member, in relation to diseases of biosecurity concern, including BSE, in accordance with its current policies and appropriate level of protection.

In March 2015, India restated its concern that the United States did not accept the OIE categorization of India as a negligible risk country for BSE. India recalled that the OIE defined the standards for six diseases including BSE, and that India followed these standards in line with the SPS Agreement. India reminded Members to apply OIE designations instead of conducting their own national assessments, and noted that the United States had chosen to disregard the OIE designation, which was contrary to accepted international practice among Members. India requested the United States to recognize its official OIE BSE status.
India also reiterated its concern regarding Australia's non-acceptance of its OIE categorization as negligible risk country for BSE. India noted that Australia had chosen to implement its own categorization process and voiced concerns about the multiplicity of systems, as well as the risk that national categorization processes would contradict the OIE's categorization. India requested that Australia share the reasoning behind its diverging view in determining a negligible risk country.
The United States reiterated its commitment to aligning its import regulations governing BSE with OIE guidelines. The United States had received India's OIE dossier on 10 September 2014, and was currently reviewing India's status, with an opportunity for public comments.
Australia indicated that, consistent with the SPS Agreement, it reserved its right to conduct its own risk assessments on the status of India or any other Member in relation to diseases of biosecurity concern, including BSE, in accordance with its appropriate level of protection.

In July 2015, India restated its concern that the United States and Australia did not accept the OIE categorization of India as a negligible risk country for BSE. India had shared its OIE dossier with the United States, but had not received any response yet. India urged both countries to carry their assessment in accordance to OIE standards.
The United States restated its commitment to align its import regulations governing BSE with that of OIE guidelines as reflected in USDA APHIS final rule published in 2013. It was currently reviewing India's OIE dossier, and the result would be published and public comments welcomed.
Australia said it hoped previous bilateral discussions with India had helped to clarify Australia's position and reiterated that it reserved its right to conduct its own risk assessments on India's or any other Member's status in relation to diseases of biosecurity concern, including BSE, in accordance with its appropriate level of protection.
India referred to the explicit recognition of OIE standards under Annex A.3 of the SPS Agreement, and invited the United States and Australia to share any additional factors that would be taken into consideration in determining India's BSE status.