DS: European Communities — Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products (Hormones)

This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.


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Summary of the dispute to date

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Complaint by Canada.  (See also DS26 and DS321)
On 28 June 1996, Canada requested consultations with the European Communities regarding the importation of livestock and meat from livestock that have been treated with certain substances having a hormonal action under Article XXII of the GATT 1994 and the corresponding provisions in the SPS Agreement, TBT Agreement and the Agreement on Agriculture. Canada alleges violation of Articles 2, 3 and 5 of the SPS Agreement; Article III or XI of the GATT 1994 ; Article 2 of the TBT Agreement; and Article 4 of the Agreement on Agriculture.

On 16 September 1996, Canada requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 27 September 1996, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.


Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

Further to a second request to establish a panel by Canada, the DSB established a panel at its meeting on 16 October 1996. On 4 November 1996, the panel was composed.

On 18 August 1997, the panel report was circulated to Members. The panel found that the European Communities' ban on imports of meat and meat products from cattle treated with any of six specific hormones for growth promotion purposes was inconsistent with Articles 3.1, 5.1 and 5.5 of the SPS Agreement.

On 24 September 1997, the European Communities notified its intention to appeal certain issues of law and legal interpretations developed by the panel. The Appellate Body examined this appeal with that of DS26. The Appellate Body report was circulated to Members on 16 January 1998. The Appellate Body upheld the panel’s finding that the EC import prohibition was inconsistent with Article 5.1 of the SPS Agreement, but reversed the panel’s finding that the EC import prohibition was inconsistent with Articles 3.1 and 5.5 of the SPS Agreement. On the general and procedural issues, the Appellate Body upheld most of the findings and conclusions of the panel, except with respect to the burden of proof in proceedings under the SPS Agreement.

At its meeting on 13 February 1998, the DSB adopted the Appellate Body report and the panel report, as modified by the Appellate Body.


Compliance proceedings

On 22 December 2008, the European Communities requested consultations under Article 21.5 of the DSU. On 16 January 2009, Australia, New Zealand and the United States requested to join the consultations.  Subsequently, Canada informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Australia, New Zealand and the United States to join the consultations.


Implementation of adopted reports

On 17 March 2011, the European Union and Canada notified the DSB of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the importation of beef from animals not treated with certain growth-promoting hormones and increased duties applied by Canada to certain products of the European Union, agreed by the United States and the European Commission on 17 March 2011, in relation to this dispute.


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