STC Number - 437

Saudi Arabia's temporary ban on the importation of fish, crustaceans and other aquatic animal products

Maintained by: Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
Raised by: Viet Nam
Supported by:
First date raised: March 2018 G/SPS/R/90 paras. 3.8-3.9
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/SAU/336
Products covered: 03 Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal diseases; Animal health; Provisional Measures; Food safety; International Standards / Harmonization; Human health
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2018, Viet Nam raised a concern over Saudi Arabia's temporary ban on the importation of fish, crustaceans and other aquatic animal products, which had been notified as an emergency measure in document G/SPS/N/SAU/336 on 30 January 2018. Viet Nam noted that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) had imposed the ban on the basis of the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Report (Asia-Pacific Region, April – June 2017) and on an inspection visit in December 2017, in relation to white spot disease (WSD) and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND). Viet Nam stated that the inspection visit had been limited to a few establishments, and not to the entire fishery safety control system, which it viewed as inconsistent with Codex standards. In addition, the inspection report had not been sent to Viet Nam for consultation ahead of the imposition of the ban, which Viet Nam argued was not in line with international practices. Viet Nam further highlighted some inconsistencies in the information provided in Saudi Arabia's notification, and emphasized that the ban was more trade restrictive than necessary, and was inconsistent with several provisions of the SPS Agreement. Viet Nam observed that WSD also occurred in Saudi Arabia. It had further requested information on Saudi Arabia's WSD-free status for shrimp; however, no response had been received as yet. Viet Nam stated that there was no risk posed by highly processed or cooked shrimp products and that these products were considered safe in commerce by the OIE. Viet Nam further indicated that both diseases had been well controlled in Viet Nam for several years, and therefore urged Saudi Arabia to lift its temporary ban. Finally, Viet Nam expressed its willingness to resolve the issue in a cooperative manner.

Saudi Arabia stated that the temporary ban on the importation of fish, crustaceans and other aquatic animal products from Viet Nam had been imposed as a precautionary measure. Saudi Arabia highlighted that it had taken this measure on the basis of Section 4.15 of the Guidelines for Food Import Control Systems (GSO/CAC/GL 47:2007), as well as the mission report and recommendations from the technical team which had visited Viet Nam. Saudi Arabia further outlined several discrepancies which had been found during the technical visit to Viet Nam. Finally, Saudi Arabia indicated its willingness to engage in bilateral discussions to resolve the issue.