STC Number - 515

Panama's authorization of Federal Inspection Type establishments

Maintained by: Panama
Raised by: Mexico
Supported by: Costa Rica; Peru
First date raised: March 2021 G/SPS/R/101 paras. 3.22-3.24
Dates subsequently raised: July 2021 (G/SPS/R/102 paras. 4.108-4.111)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents:
Products covered: Bovine products and by-products
Primary subject keyword: Other concerns
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Risk assessment; Sufficiency of scientific evidence
Status: Resolved
Solution: In November 2021 (G/SPS/R/104, paras. 3.98-3.99), Mexico informed the Committee that the concern was considered as resolved, following the receipt of Panama's response regarding the authorization of Federal Inspection Type establishments. Panama confirmed the temporary authorization of a list of meat establishments.
Date reported as resolved: 03/11/2021

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2021, Mexico expressed concerns regarding delays in Panama's procedures for the renewal of authorizations for establishments that exported bovine products and by-products. Mexico noted that the delays in responses to the correspondence sent to Panama had prompted the expiration of authorizations in several establishments. Mexico mentioned a bilateral meeting held in February 2021 in which Panama had explained that, for the renewal of authorizations and in addition to the evaluations of veterinary services, a procedure needed to be developed for the eligibility of countries wishing to export bovine products and by-products. Mexico recalled the provisions of the SPS Agreement to base measures on science and highlighted the provisions of Annex C.

Peru and Costa Rica supported this concern. Peru considered Panama's policies to be inconsistent with Annex C and Articles 2, 5, and 8 of the SPS Agreement. Peru urged Panama to avoid unnecessary and unjustified barriers to trade. Costa Rica referred to the practices implemented by Panama which restricted trade through measures lacking a scientific basis and risk analysis. Costa Rica called upon Panama to address Members' concerns, which were indicative of an inadequate application of SPS measures and a non-observance of the obligations established in the SPS Agreement.

Panama indicated that the information would be reported to capital. Panama reported that it had recently communicated with Mexico's Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade and had agreed to convene an administrative commission of their Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to address this trade concern.

In July 2021, Mexico reiterated its concerns on the undue delays by Panamanian Food Safety Authority (AUPSA) in the renewal of authorization of Mexican establishments exporting products and by products of bovine animals. Despite Mexico's repeated requests for renewals, AUPSA had indicated the need to develop a procedure for the eligibility of countries exporting to Panama and an assessment of Mexico's veterinary services, even though trade was ongoing and Mexico maintained the same sanitary status. Mexico recalled that SPS measures had to be based on science and appropriate to the circumstances, as well as the obligations under Annex C of the SPS Agreement. Reiterating its willingness to cooperate with Panama, Mexico hoped to reach an agreement in the bilateral meeting of the SPS committee of the Free Trade Agreement to be held later in July.

Costa Rica considered that Panama's measures were not based on scientific evidence or a risk assessment, resulting in trade restrictions to the Panamanian market of a wide variety of agricultural products. Costa Rica urged Panama to take into account its concerns and respect the obligations under the SPS Agreement.

In Peru's view, Panama's measures were in violation of Articles 2, 5 and 8 and Annex C of the SPS Agreement. Peru requested Panama to avoid unnecessary and unjustified barriers to trade.

Reiterating its willingness to cooperate with Mexico, Panama confirmed that this concern was included in the agenda of a bilateral meeting of the SPS committee of the Free Trade Agreement to be held later in July.