STC Number - 466

The Philippines' trade restrictions on imports of meat

Maintained by: Philippines
Raised by: European Union
Supported by:
First date raised: November 2019 G/SPS/R/97, paras. 3.6-3.7
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal diseases; Animal health; International Standards / Harmonization; Pest or Disease free Regions / Regionalization; Other animal health (OAH); Sufficiency of scientific evidence
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In November 2019, the European Union raised a concern regarding the Philippines' country-wide bans on imports of meat products from nine EU member States on grounds of ASF, which were not based on OIE standards or on regionalization principles. The European Union remarked that one of the EU member State affected by the ban, Germany, had never had an outbreak of ASF on its territory, and another, the Czech Republic, had been free from ASF since more than a year and a half. The Philippine's suspension of import of all meat products from Germany was a disproportionate and unjustified reaction; and bans of imports of pork meat from the other EU member States lacked scientific justification and went against the principle of regionalization. Hence, the measures were inconsistent with Article 2.2 as well as Article 6 of the SPS Agreement. The European Union regretted that the said measures imposing bans continued despite the transparency of regionalization measures put in place by EU member States, in compliance with OIE recommendations, and provision of all necessary evidence to the Philippines to demonstrate that the EU measures would guarantee continuation of safe trade.

The Philippines replied that its measures were based on OIE guidelines for regionalization. The Philippines explained that the measure to restrict imports of meat from countries with ASF outbreaks was a provisional precautionary measure based on available pertinent information, consistent with Article 5.7 of the SPS Agreement. The Philippines had been receptive to technical information provided by the European Union and had continuously been seeking to obtain additional information that was necessary to review the provisional measure. In determining areas free of the disease, as stipulated under Article 6.1 of the SPS Agreement, it considered the effectiveness of controls. The effectiveness of the interventions must be supported by convincing evidence of disease contraction or elimination, which would build the confidence of the Philippines in EU control measures. However, the validated reports from the European Union showed alarming dispersion. In 2018-2019, four of nine inspection missions relevant to approval procedures had been for EU member States. Comparing the January-September period for 2018-2019, Philippine meat imports had decreased slightly. Finally, the Philippines welcomed continued consultations with the European Union to further discuss the matter.