STC Number - 247

BSE-related measures on beef products

Maintained by: Korea, Republic of
Raised by: Canada
Supported by: European Union
First date raised: February 2007 G/SPS/R/44 paras. 15-18
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: WT/DS391/9; WT/DS391/R
Products covered: 02 Meat and edible meat offal
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization; Zoonoses
Status: Resolved
Solution: Consultations requested on 9 April 2009. Request for establishment of Panel on 9 July 2009. Panel established on 31 August 2009. Mutually agreed solution notified on 19 June 2012. Panel report circulated to Members on 3 July 2012.
Date reported as resolved: 19/06/2012

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In February 2007, Canada recalled that in response to finding a case of BSE in Canada in May 2003, Korea had implemented a ban on imports of beef from Canada. Canada had taken effective measures to control the risk of BSE, often exceeding OIE standards. Furthermore, the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code indicated that no restrictions should be applied on boneless beef from animals aged 30 months or less, regardless of the BSE status of the exporting country. More than 30 trading partners had resumed importing Canadian beef, but Korea continued to block imports. In January 2007, Canada had, under Article 5.8 of the SPS Agreement, formally requested Korea to provide a justification for this measure. Canada was disappointed in Korea's response, which was to request additional information. On the basis of the information already provided to Korea, other trading partners had assessed risks and concluded that Canadian beef was safe to import. The information has also been sufficient for the OIE Central Bureau to determine Canada's BSE status. Canada requested Korea to lift its restrictions and grant access to Canadian beef according to the OIE guidelines.

The European Communities indicated that they shared Canada's concerns and were facing similar problems with Korea. This was not a new issue. The European Communities strongly urged all Members to apply the OIE standards, especially with respect to BSE.

Korea stated that import restrictions had been imposed on certain products due to the BSE outbreak in Canada. Korea had taken the necessary steps to permit the resumption of beef trade. It was clear that under the terms of the SPS Agreement, Korea could assess the risk from each Member individually. The risk analysis on Canadian meat had been delayed when new BSE cases were reported in January 2006. Korea was concerned that there might be a problem related to the effectiveness of the feed ban measures, and the continued appearance of cases raised questions that had not been clearly answered by Canada. However, in accordance with Article 5, Korea would continue to discuss this matter with Canada.

Canada stressed that the OIE Code allowed for trade in boneless beef from animals below 30 months regardless of the BSE status of the exporting country. The few cases of BSE in cattle born after the feed ban had no epidemiological significance. Although Canada was willing to provide any relevant information required, it had been unaware that there were any outstanding requests for information.

In accordance with the provisions of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU), Canada requested consultations with Korea on 9 April 2009 (WT/DS/391/1). The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) established a panel on 31 August 2009. Canada and Korea notified the DSB that they had reached a mutually agreed solution on 19 June 2012. The panel report (WT/DS391/R) was circulated to Members on 3 July 2012, reporting on the solution reached by the parties.