TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues
Panel set over EU ban on Norwegian seal products
Geneva, 21 Apr (Kanaga Raja) -- The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 21 April agreed to establish a panel, at the request of Norway, to examine measures imposed by the European Communities prohibiting the importation and marketing of seal products from Norway.
This was a second-time request and panel establishment
was automatic. A first-time request was made by
On 25 March, the DSB had established two separate
panels, following two separate but related requests by
One panel was established to examine certain measures
At its meeting on 21 April, the DSB agreed to merge the second Canadian panel with the Norwegian one, as they were set to examine the same EC regulation on seal products.
The dispute brought by
The measures at issue, which
-- Regulation (EC) No. 1007/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on trade in seal products, adopted on 16 September 2009 (the "Basic Regulation");
-- Commission Regulation (EU) No. 737/2010, laying down detailed rules for the implementation of the Basic Regulation, adopted on 10 August 2010 (the "Implementing Regulation");
-- Omissions to adopt adequate procedures for establishing that seal products conforming to the relevant conditions, set forth in exceptions in the EU seal regime, may be placed on the EU market; and
-- Any other related measures adopted by the EU or its member States that provide guidance on, amend, supplement, replace, and/or implement the rules set forth in the Basic Regulation and Implementing Regulation, whether adopted pursuant to these regulations or otherwise.
In its communication,
"The EU seal regime contains certain exceptions that set forth conditions under which seal products may be placed on the EU market. However, these exceptions appear to discriminate in favour of seal products originating in the EU and in certain third countries," the Norwegian communication added.
"However, the EU does not appear to have established adequate procedures for the assessment of conformity of imported seal products with the relevant conditions for being placed on the EU market."
As a result, said
In its statement at the DSB,
In its statement, the EU said that it believes
that the WTO is not an appropriate forum to discuss
The EU said that the parties to the EEA Agreement are bound by a special duty of loyal cooperation under Article 3 of that agreement. They should not seek to evade the application of the specific rules governing the "privileged relationship" established by the EEA Agreement by resorting to dispute settlement under a different agreement, which pursues a very different objective.
The EU said that it reserves all rights to pursue these matters under the EEA Agreement. +