STC Number - 463

Ukraine's restrictions on swine products

Maintained by: Ukraine
Raised by: Brazil
Supported by:
First date raised: July 2019 G/SPS/R/95 paras. 4.27-4.28
Dates subsequently raised: November 2019 (G/SPS/R/97/Rev.1 paras. 3.62-3.64)
June 2020 (G/SPS/R/99 paras. 3.257-3.265)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 0203 Meat of swine, fresh, chilled or frozen.

Pork and swine products.
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Animal health; Classical Swine Fever; Risk assessment; Transparency; Undue delays; Pest or Disease free Regions / Regionalization; International Standards / Harmonization
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 2019, Brazil presented this STC due to Ukraine's embargo against Brazilian swine products. Ukraine was the only country to impose restrictions on Brazilian pork, following an occurrence of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) in 2018 in the state of Ceara, after ten years without CSF in Brazil. Since the beginning of the embargo, Brazilian authorities had been providing the technical information requested and held a bilateral meeting in March 2019. CSF-free zones covered 95 percent of all Brazilian swine production and 100 percent of its swine exports. Its National Program on Swine Health surveyed the whole national territory and imposed the necessary restrictions to the movement of animals and kept track of the animals and animal products considered susceptible. Brazil reaffirmed that the sanitary measures regarding CSF were in line with national regulations as well as with the OIE's Terrestrial Animal Health Code. Brazil noted that the restrictive measures were in breach of Articles 2.2, 3.1, 5.6 and 6 of the SPS Agreement.

Ukraine thanked Brazil for their bilateral cooperation on the issue. Ukraine noted that CSF was a mandatory notifiable disease, according to the principles and requirements of the OIE. Ukraine regretted that despite several requests, Brazil had not submitted the information necessary to carry out a risk assessment. Frozen pork meat had been imported in 2018. However, after Brazil's notification of CSF in October 2018, imports of pigs, pork meat and pork meat products had been restricted. In 2018, Brazil notified the OIE of 30 cases of CSF in the State of Ceara, in backyard farms. Unfortunately, almost 2 months had passed between the initial occurrence of the disease and the disease confirmation. During that period, 112 pigs out of 132 pigs had died, with an apparent mortality rate of 84.85%. The most recent occurrences of the disease had been registered in July 2019, as notified to the OIE. Therefore, Ukraine had requested additional information, including on Brazil's review of its strategy for surveillance and control of CSF. Ukraine voiced its concern with Brazil's lack of transparency and undue delays in notifying to the OIE, and looked forward to a more effective dialogue with Brazil.

In November 2019, Brazil expressed its concern about Ukraine's continued embargo on Brazilian pork and other swine products. Brazil explained that it had a zone free from Classical Swine Fever (CSF), which had been recognized by the OIE in 2015. This free zone concentrated over 95% of swine production and 100% of exports of pigs and pig products. Brazil had notified an occurrence of CSF to the OIE in 2018, which had occurred 500 kilometres away from the border of its disease-free zone. These outbreaks did not alter the international recognition granted to the disease-free zone. Brazil had been providing all technical clarifications that had been requested by Ukraine and had also held a bilateral meeting in March 2019.

Brazil underscored that the notification of the CSF outbreak had been submitted to the OIE in due observance of the OIE Guidelines on Immediate Notification of a Disease, within 24 hours of receiving confirmation via laboratory analysis. Brazil followed strict surveillance and risk-mitigation procedures to prevent introduction of the disease into the disease-free zone. Brazil remarked that Ukraine was the only Member to impose restrictions on importation and transit of Brazilian swine products. This was in non-compliance with Resolution No. 29 of 25 May 2018 containing the model health certificate that was bilaterally agreed, and Decree No. 71 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 2004, which specified that Brazil should be divided into regions with respect to trade restrictions imposed due to incidence of CSF. Brazil, therefore, called upon Ukraine to recognize the principles of regionalization and reconsider its restrictive measures.

Ukraine thanked Brazil for its cooperation on the raised concern by submitting enough information to undertake an evaluation of the situation. Ukraine appreciated the various control measures undertaken by Brazil to prevent introduction of the disease agent in neighbouring zones and welcomed Brazil's engagement in continued consultations to find an appropriate solution based on international standards.

In June 2020, Brazil provided the following statement: Brazil raised this specific trade concern for the first time in the last SPS Committee (in July 2019), because Ukraine has been keeping an embargo on Brazilian pork and other swine products. The embargo began in 2018, after Brazil notified to the OIE an occurrence of classical swine fever. Brazil has a zone free from classical swine fever, which was recognized by the OIE in 2015. This free zone concentrates over 95% of the Brazilian swine production and 100% of exports of pigs and pig products. The case notified in 2018, which gave rise to the Ukrainian embargo, occurred over 500 km away from the border with Brazil's zone free of this disease. After this first case, others occurred. However, these outbreaks are restricted to some backyards in three states which are not part of the free zone. Neither the first case nor any of the following occurrences altered in any way the international recognition granted to the Brazilian free zone. At the last SPS meeting (in July), Ukraine argued that Brazil was lacking transparency. However, since the beginning of the Ukrainian embargo, Brazilian technical authorities, with the support of the Brazilian Embassy in Kiev, have been providing all the technical clarification that has been requested by Ukraine. Besides, Brazil and Ukraine held a bilateral meeting in Geneva in March 2020. Ukraine also claimed that Brazil was late in observing its notification obligations to OIE. We were perplexed by Ukrainian allegations that "almost 2 months had passed between the initial occurrence of the disease and the disease confirmation". Brazil takes this opportunity to underscore that the notification was submitted in due observance of the deadlines set forth in the Terrestrial Code and in the OIE Guidance on Immediate notifications under the OIE World Animal Health Information System. The clinical and epidemiological investigation started immediately after the authorities were notified by the breeder. Samples were sent to laboratory analysis, and Brazil had then confirmation of the outbreak once the laboratory report attested the presence of the pertinent virus in samples from pigs that had shown symptoms. This confirmation took place on 6 October 2018. The notification was duly submitted by Brazil on 7 October 2018, within the 24-hour deadline from the confirmation. There was no delay neither in beginning investigation, nor in obtaining the confirmation, nor in communicating to the OIE once the outbreak was confirmed. Besides, since this first outbreak, Brazil has submitted 13 follow-up reports with detailed information on the subsequent outbreaks. Brazil has a very strict National Program on Swine Health, which encompasses the whole national territory and ensures the containment of the disease and the protection of the sanitary condition of the classical swine fever free zone. In Brazil, free and non-free zones have clear boundaries, protected by both natural barriers and checkpoints. Movement and trade of animals and their by-products between the disease-free zone and the non-disease-free zone is prohibited. These restrictions have been reinforced since the beginning of the outbreaks in 2018. Strict surveillance and risk mitigation procedures to prevent the introduction of the disease into the free zone are routinely followed. Brazilian authorities keep track of the animals and animal products considered susceptible. Brazil takes this very seriously, as it currently exports pork to about 90 different countries. Ukraine is the only country in the world to impose such restrictions on Brazilian pork. As the outbreaks do not interfere with the status of the Brazilian classical swine fever free zone, they cannot be used as justification for interruption in the trade of pigs and by-products. Brazil considers that the restrictions imposed by Ukraine on the importation and transit in its territory of Brazilian swine products do not comply with Resolution No. 29 of 25 May 2018, which contains the model of health certificate that was bilaterally agreed, and with Decree No. 71 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 14 June 2004, which specifies that Brazil should be divided into states or regions, with respect to trade restrictions due to the incidence of classical swine fever. In December 2019, communication No. 6142 / 22-012-1089 from the State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Protection of Ukraine, which communicated the maintenance of the embargo on products of Brazilian origin, asked Brazil to send detailed information on controlling the movement of animals between the free zone and the non-free zone of classical swine fever, as well as data from the epizootic investigation and sources of contamination for the neighbouring region considered free from classical swine fever. According to the Ukrainian authority, the removal of restrictions depends on Brazil eliminating the disease in the territory and sending a report to the OIE. This demand conflicts with the guidelines of the OIE itself in determining zoning with free and non free areas of classical swine fever within the same territory. In addition, the Ukrainian side indicated the possible arrival of an inspection mission to assess the Brazilian control system. In response, Brazil sent a formal response to Ukraine, with details about the free zoning carried out in Brazil and its controlling system, which complies with the guidelines provided by the OIE. Since then, Brazil has received no reaction from the Ukrainian side. We therefore urge Ukraine to reconsider its restrictive measures.

Ukraine thanked Brazil for their regular bilateral cooperation. Direct communication had been held through the Embassy of Brazil in Ukraine, and the latest correspondence from Ukraine had been sent on 18 June 2020. According to the final report on classical swine fever in Brazil, published on the OIE's website, the country was implementing systemic vaccination against classical swine fever, which had not been carried out before, indicating a change in national strategy for prevention and elimination of classical swine fever, matter that had not been raised in the latest information provided by Brazil. The State Service of Ukraine reiterated its proposal to start the coordination procedure between the competent authorities to evaluate the system of Brazil's control over pork. Ukraine was looking forward to receiving feedback from Brazil regarding evaluation on the spot.