DS: Korea — Measures Affecting the Importation of Bovine Meat and Meat Products from Canada

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. 

On 9 April 2009, Canada requested consultations with Korea concerning measures affecting the importation of bovine meat and meat products from Canada.  According to Canada, since May 2003 Korea prohibits the importation of Canadian bovine meat and meat products.  The alleged objective of this prohibition would be that of protecting against risks arising from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Canada challenges two measures:

  • Administrative Order No. 51584-476, which entered into force on 21 May 2003, and would prohibit the importation into Korea of bovine meat and meat products from Canada;  and
  • Korean Act No. 9130, amending the Act on the Prevention of Contagious Animal Diseases (also known as the Livestock Epidemic Prevention Act), which entered into force on 11 September 2008, and would set out a number of conditions for lifting the import ban, including subjecting any import health requirements for the importation of Canadian bovine meat and meat products to the approval of the Korean National Assembly (Korea's national legislature).

For each of these measures, Canada's request would also cover any amendments, replacements, extensions, implementing measures or other related measures.

Canada argues that the measures at issue are inconsistent with the SPS Agreement and the GATT 1994, including the following provisions:

  • Articles 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.3, 5.1, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 6.1, 8 and Annex C of the SPS Agreement;  and
  • Articles I:1, III:4 and XI:1 of the GATT 1994.

On 23 April 2009, the European Communities requested to join the consultations.

On 9 July 2009, Canada requested the establishment of a panel.  At its meeting on 20 July 2009, the DSB deferred the establishment of the panel.


Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

At its meeting on 31 August 2009, the DSB established a panel.  Brazil, Japan, Chinese Taipei and the United States reserved their third party rights.  Subsequently, Argentina, China, the European Communities and India reserved their third party rights.  On 4 November 2009, Canada requested the Director-General to compose the panel.  On 13 November 2009, the Director-General composed the panel. On 25 June 2010, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that it would not be possible for the panel to complete its work within six months from the date of the panel's composition due to the request by one party for a preliminary ruling and the fact that expert consultation procedures are involved.  The panel expected that it would be in a position to issue its final report to the parties most likely by April 2011. On 21 April 2011, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that due to the complexity of the dispute and the voluminous materials to be examined, the Panel needs more time to complete its work.  The panel expected to issue its final report to the parties no later than 31 August 2011.

On 4 July 2011, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that it had granted Canada's request of 28 June 2011 that the panel suspend its proceedings, pursuant to Article 12.12 of the DSU, until further notice, to which Korea agreed on 1 July 2011. Also on 4 July 2011, Canada circulated to the DSB a copy of a communication Canada had sent to the Republic of Korea on 25 June 2011 in relation to the suspension of the panel proceedings.


Settled or terminated

On 19 June 2012, Canada and Korea notified the DSB that they had reached a mutually agreed solution under Article 3.6 of the DSU.  In accordance with this mutually agreed solution, Korea confirm ed that it is applying the Import Health Requirements for Canadian Beef published in the Korean Gazette on 20 January 2012, as Notice 2012-3.

On 3 July 2012, the panel circulated its report to the Members. In accordance with Article 12.7 of the DSU, the panel report was confined to a brief description of the case and to reporting that a solution has been reached.


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