STC Number - 1

Shelf-life requirements

Maintained by: Korea, Republic of
Raised by: Australia; Canada; United States of America
Supported by: Argentina; European Union
First date raised: June 1995 G/SPS/R/2, paras. 39-40
Dates subsequently raised: November 1995 (G/SPS/R/3, paras. 7-8)
May 1996 (G/SPS/R/5, paras. 42-44)
March 1997 (G/SPS/R/7, paras. 20-21)
July 1997 (G/SPS/R/8, paras. 8-9)
October 1997 (G/SPS/R/9/Rev.1, paras. 6-7)
July 2001 (G/SPS/R/22, para. 127)
Number of times subsequently raised: 6
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/KOR/9, G/SPS/W/27, G/SPS/W/41, G/SPS/W/43, G/SPS/GEN/40, G/SPS/GEN/265, WT/DS5/5, WT/DS20/6
Products covered: 0401 Milk and cream, not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matter.; 0402 Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter.; 2201 Waters, including natural or artificial mineral waters and aerated waters, not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter nor flavoured; ice and snow.; 2202 Waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters, containing added sugar or other sweetening matter or flavoured, and other non-alcoholic beverages, not including fruit or vegetable juices of heading 20.09.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Good Offices/Consultations/Dispute Settlement; Human health
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: US complaint against Korea's shelf-life requirements for frozen processed meats and other products. Consultations requested on 3/05/1995 (WT/DS5/1). Mutually agreed solution notified on 20/07/1995 (WT/DS5/5). In July 2001, the United States indicated that the issue had been resolved. Canada's complaint against Korea's restrictions on treatment methods for bottled water. Consultations requested on 8/11/1995 (WT/DS20/1). Mutually agreed solution notified on 24/04/1996 (WT/DS20/6).
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 1995, the United States informed the Committee of official consultations under Dispute settlement procedures with Korea regarding its government-mandated shelf-life requirements. Canada had joined these consultations. Korea indicated that although consultations had been productive, there was a high degree of ambiguity in the implementation of the Agreement. The parties had noted the lack of international standards in the area, and countries maintained very diverse practices. A mutually agreed solution was notified in July 1995.

In November 1995, the United States expressed serious concern that Korea was not implementing the agreed settlement. Also in November 1995, Canada indicated that it had initiated formal consultations with Korea related to shelf-life determination for bottled water and the prohibition of the use of ozonation. Korea confirmed that bottled water was excluded from the settlement reached with the United States, but was willing to enter into consultations with Canada. A mutually satisfactory solution was notified in April 1996.

In May 1996, Canada noted that although a formal understanding had been reached with regard to some concerns regarding shelf life, problems with the shelf life of bottled water continued. Korea had not offered any time-table for moving to a manufacturer-determined shelf life on bottled water. Korea took note of this concern. In July 1997, Canada reported that the matter had been pursued bilaterally, but no resolution had been found.

In May 1996, Australia expressed serious concern with regard to Korea's shelf-life regulations on ultra heat treated milk in consumer packs (UHT milk), which remained government mandated at a period substantially shorter than that applied in most countries. Australia was unaware of any scientific justification for this limited shelf-life period, and requested Korea to permit a manufacturer-determined shelf life by 1 July 1996. Korea took note of these concerns.

In March 1997, Australia reported that Korea had yet to implement a manufacturer-determined shelf life for UHT milk. Australia had provided a scientific submission to Korea in November 1996, which had not been accepted. Subsequently, Australia had provided another submission upon request. Korea indicated that it was reviewing the information provided by Australia and noted that its new system for shelf-life determination set a time-frame for the implementation of a manufacturer-determined shelf-life period for UHT milk.

In July 1997, Australia noted that Korea had not provided any justification for its non-acceptance of manufacturer-determined shelf life, and requested an explanation in accordance with Article 5.8. Korea indicated that manufacturer-determined shelf life would be applied to UHT milk before the end of 1998.

In October 1997, Australia indicated that it had not received a satisfactory answer from Korea. Korea replied that it was reviewing the possibility of extending the current mandatory shelf-life period for UHT milk even before manufacturer-determined shelf life applied at the end of 1998.

In July 2001, the United States indicated that it considered the trade concern to be resolved (G/SPS/GEN/265).