STC Number - 510

China's restrictions on bovine meat imports

Maintained by: China
Raised by: India
Supported by:
First date raised: March 2021 G/SPS/R/101 paras. 3.11-3.12
Dates subsequently raised: July 2021 (G/SPS/R/102 paras. 4.116-4.117)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents:
Products covered: Bovine meat
Primary subject keyword: Animal Health
Keywords: Foot and mouth disease; International Standards / Harmonization; Sufficiency of scientific evidence; Appropriate level of protection; Risk assessment; Animal health
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2021, India raised its concern regarding China's import restrictions on bovine meat based on India's foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) status. India noted that China continued to impose restrictions despite previously raised STCs, a MoU signed between the two countries in 2013, the clearing by China in 2017 of 14 centres for the export of bovine meat from India, and China's FMD status. India recalled that the OIE did not prohibit exports of meat from FMD-affected countries to FMD-free countries, provided there was compliance with Article 8.8.22 of the OIE Terrestrial Code. India highlighted that it had a recognized official FMD control programme similar to Namibia, from which China allowed bovine meat imports. India considered China's measures to be inconsistent with Articles 2.2, 2.3, 3.3 and 5.1 of the SPS Agreement. India requested China to share its scientific justification and the risk assessment undertaken to impose a higher standard of disease-free status than that required by the OIE.

China explained that it had imposed a ban on Indian beef imports in accordance with the principles of regional management of FMD and with OIE standards. China indicated it classified FMD as a first-class infectious disease, which required the adoption of strict measures, such as prohibiting flows of products from epidemic areas. China noted that it had conducted inspections and assessments on the control of FMD in India, concluding that FMD had not been effectively controlled in the country. China highlighted its plan to initiate the relevant procedures for lifting the ban and conducting technical consultations once FMD was effectively controlled in India and the country was recognized as a disease-free area by the OIE.

In July 2021, India reiterated its concerns on import restrictions imposed by China based on India's FMD status, despite the STC raised, the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2013, the clearing by China in 2017 of 14 centres for the export of bovine meat from India, and the similar FMD conditions prevailing in China and India. Recalling the guidance provided by the OIE in its Terrestrial Code, India noted its ongoing exports of meat to FMD-free countries with no instances of FMD transmission. India pointed out that it had a recognized official FMD control programme similar to other countries from which China allowed bovine meat imports. India considered China's measures were inconsistent with Articles 2.2, 2.3, 3.3 and 5.1 of the SPS Agreement, and requested China to share its scientific justification and the risk assessment undertaken to impose a higher standard of disease-free status than that required by the OIE.

China explained that the ban on imports of Indian beef and its products was established in accordance with the principles of regional management of FMD and with OIE standards, in light of the outbreaks of this disease in India in recent years. In case India had effectively controlled the FMD, China invited India to provide the corresponding information so that the relevant procedures for lifting the ban could be initiated.