STC Number - 381

Russia's unilateral introduction of new requirements for veterinary certificates

Maintained by: Russian Federation
Raised by: Ukraine
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2014 G/SPS/R/76, paras. 3.4-3.5
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 01 Live animals
Primary subject keyword: Other concerns
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Equivalence
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2014, Ukraine raised concerns regarding Russia's unilateral introduction of new requirements for veterinary certificates for Ukrainian goods subject to veterinary supervision on 1 September 2014. Ukraine doubted the compliance of Russia's measures with Articles 2 and 5 of the SPS Agreement. Ukraine requested that Russia comply with its obligations, particularly those relating to equivalence and consultations. To avoid misunderstandings on the interpretation of laboratory tests, Ukraine had previously proposed research under bilateral governmental supervision on subjects including mutual recognition of laboratory results and joint laboratory assessments, as well as the validation and accreditation of methods that differ at the level of standards application. Ukraine informed the Committee that on 11 August 2014 the Ukraine State Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service had sent revised forms of veterinary certificates in Russian to Rosselkhoznadzor. In response, Rosselkhoznadzor had informed the Ukraine about a large number of inconsistencies in the certificate forms. Ukraine pointed to Russia's obligations within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which provided that parties agree bilaterally on sample forms of veterinary certificates for imported products of animal origin. Ukraine urged Russia to explain its non-implementation of Article 14 of the CIS Agreement and its accession commitments. Ukraine expressed its openness for full cooperation with Russia to resolve this concern in the interest of trade.

Russia clarified that a veterinary certificate was a legally binding document used by exporting countries to confirm the safety of its products and compliance with the veterinary requirements of the importing country. While Ukraine, as a member of CIS, had thus far used a simplified form of the veterinary certificate, difficulties arose when Ukraine signed the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. This agreement covered, inter alia, the implementation of EU SPS legislation. The resulting reconstruction of Ukraine's current veterinary and phytosanitary control system had not been notified to Rosselkhoznadzor, constituting a violation of WTO transparency principles. During trilateral consultations between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union to discuss the Association Agreement's economic implications for Russia, Ukraine had proposed the development of a co-operation road map with Rosselkhoznadzor, the first point of which was to shift to the system of international veterinary certificates. However, according to an agreement reached on 12 September 2014, Ukraine could enjoy the privileges of CIS membership, and therefore use the simplified veterinary certificates, until 31 December 2015. Russia had provided comments on the new draft certificates submitted by Ukraine on 1 September 2014, correcting a number of mistakes. Russia expressed surprise at Ukraine's concern, since the change in certificates related to Ukraine's own proposal, and since Ukraine was able to use the simplified veterinary certificates until the end of 2015.