STC Number - 290

Suspension of inspection and delivery of plant and animal health certificates for imports

Maintained by: Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Raised by: Colombia
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2009 G/SPS/R/56 para. 202
Dates subsequently raised: March 2010 (G/SPS/R/58 paras. 41-43)
June 2010 (G/SPS/R/59 paras. 48-51)
October 2010 (G/SPS/R/61 paras. 29-30)
Number of times subsequently raised: 3
Relevant documents: Raised orally, subsequently circulated in G/SPS/GEN/983 RD/SPS/114
Products covered: 01 Live animals; 02 Meat and edible meat offal; 06 Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage
Primary subject keyword: Other concerns
Keywords: Animal health; Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Food safety; Other concerns; Plant health
Status: Resolved
Solution: In October 2013, information was received from Colombia on the resolution of this STC (RD/SPS/114, of 29 October 2020).
Date reported as resolved: 16/10/2013

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2009, Colombia informed the Committee of Venezuela's recent decision to stop issuing SPS certificates for certain goods coming from Colombia. In response Venezuela requested that Colombia present the details of their concern and assured the Committee that they would deal with this matter on a bi-lateral basis. Information from Colombia was subsequently circulated in G/SPS/GEN/983.

In March 2010, Colombia presented G/SPS/GEN/983 addressing the suspension of inspections and of the delivery of plant and animal health certificates for Colombian products into the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Colombia considered that the measures adopted by Venezuela were in flagrant violation of the basic provisions of the SPS Agreement, in particular to Article 2, Annex C, and Article 13 (Implementation), and would cause severe economic losses to Colombia.

Venezuela responded that the information presented in G/SPS/GEN/983 was not based on official documents or an actual certification refusal, but rather on information from the press. The request for approval related to lendormin should not be considered an SPS matter, but as an import licensing issue outside the scope of the SPS Agreement. Venezuela suggested that the issues raised by Colombia be discussed bilaterally.

Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba encouraged both countries to try to solve their differences bilaterally.

In June 2010, Colombia reiterated the concerns presented in G/SPS/GEN/983 concerning the suspension of inspections and of the delivery of plant and animal health certificates for Colombian products into the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Colombia considered the measures adopted by Venezuela to be in flagrant violation of the basic provisions of the SPS Agreement, in particular Article 2, Annex C, and Article 13. Colombia considered those measures to represent undue obstacles to trade as there were not based on scientific evidence of a health risk.

Venezuela responded that the issue had been clarified at the March 2010 meeting. The information presented in G/SPS/GEN/983 was not based on official documents or on a certification refusal, but rather on information from the press. The request for approval related to lendormin should not be considered an SPS matter, but as an import licensing issue outside the scope of the SPS Agreement. Venezuela suggested that the issues raised by Colombia be discussed bilaterally.

Colombia noted that at the March 2010 meeting, Venezuela had stated that the measures announced by Colombia were based on press releases and therefore not duly justified. As a result, Colombia had submitted additional documentation showing instructions banning the delivery of licenses and permits. Colombia wished to receive an explanation as to why those instructions had been issued.

Cuba and Bolivia encouraged both countries to solve their differences bilaterally.

In October 2010, Colombia reported that the issue of sanitary restrictions had been discussed in a meeting between the Presidents of Venezuela and Colombia as part of the normalization of trade relations between the two countries. Colombia hoped that expeditious progress would be made, so that a resolution might be reported to the Committee in March 2011.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela confirmed that bilateral contacts had been established between the two countries and that reports would be provided on the progress made in resolving this issue.

In October 2013, the Secretariat informed that in September 2013 it had contacted all Members who had raised specific trade concerns (STCs) that had not been discussed in the previous year, to request an update on their status. In furtherance of this request, information was received from Colombia on the resolution of this STC. In November 2020, the Secretariat indicated that the information received had been circulated in document RD/SPS/114, of 29 October 2020, and that the SPS IMS would be updated on this basis, using the date of the October 2013 SPS Committee meeting as the date of resolution of the relevant STCs.