STC Number - 127

Import ban on products of Dutch origin

Maintained by: China
Raised by: European Union
Supported by:
First date raised: June 2002 G/SPS/R/27, paras 31-32
Dates subsequently raised: November 2002 (G/SPS/R/28, paras. 73-74)
April 2003 (G/SPS/R/29, paras. 82-83)
June 2003 (G/SPS/R/30, paras. 39-40)
Number of times subsequently raised: 3
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal; 03 Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates; 04 Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included; 05 Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Human health
Status: Resolved
Solution: Ban on Dutch products lifted
Date reported as resolved: 01/06/2003

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

The European Communities stated that the Chinese authorities had suspended imports of all products of animal origin from the Netherlands after detection of one positive consignment in a single category of products. The European Communities considered this measure to be more trade restrictive than necessary, and noted that in a similar situation with regard to Chinese products, the European Communities had given China sufficient time to solve problems of detection of the presence of chloramphenicol in their products.
China noted that the use of chloramphenicol in animal foodstuffs had been prohibited in EC member States since 1994. When the substance had been detected in Dutch products, China had imposed a provisional ban and immediately alerted the Dutch authorities. China had received part of the information requested, and was waiting for further information so as to review its measure. The representative of China reported that the problem apparently arose due to Dutch imports of feedstuffs from some eastern European countries, which gave rise to concerns regarding Dutch import control measures, residue monitoring systems and export control measures.
In November 2002, the European Communities reported that some progress had been made, however they requested China to increase efforts to resolve the issue. The European Communities considered this a disproportionate reaction to a problem that could have been resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner without disrupting trade. China observed that other countries had faced similar problems with Dutch products. His country was working to remove the ban remaining for some products. For this purpose, the Netherlands had been invited to provide information to enable China to conduct a risk assessment, as soon as possible.
In April 2003, the European Communities reported that China had lifted restrictions on certain products of no real trade significance, but no satisfactory solution had yet been found for a large number of animal products of Dutch origin, in particular dairy products. In December 2002, the European Communities had supplied the information requested by China. In March 2003, China requested additional information and indicated that an inspection mission would be necessary before anything further could be done. The European Communities questioned why this inspection visit had not been proposed sooner.
China responded that it had lifted the ban on certain products on 25 December 2002, after receipt of information from the European Communities. For other products, China had been waiting for almost one year on the Netherlands' residue monitoring and assessment controls. Based on the information provided to date, China had identified significant defects with respect to conformity with the relevant EC directives, including sampling of dairy products and casings. An inspection visit was necessary to address these outstanding issues. The receipt of additional information from the Netherlands on 21 March 2003 would enable the visit of China's inspection team in the near future.
In June 2003, the European Communities reported that the Chinese embargo on products from the Netherlands had been lifted and the European Communities believed this issue now resolved. China reaffirmed that the ban on Dutch products had been lifted after an inspection visit and the conclusion of a risk assessment.