Dr David Jukes, The University of
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Food Law News - FAO / WHO / WTO / Codex - 2015
WTO News Item, 6 November 2015
TBT COMMITTEE - Technical Barriers to Trade: Formal Meeting - Standards committee discusses tyres, toy safety and food
The following are extracts from the news item relating to food. For the full news story, see: https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news15_e/tbt_10nov15_e.htm
WTO members aired trade concerns related to tyres, toys, cloning and food when they met as the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade on 4-6 November 2015. Members also agreed on a way forward for organizing the Committee’s work programme for 2016-18.
Specific trade concerns
Delegations raised 17 new specific trade concerns and 39 previously raised concerns during the three-day meeting. This brings the total number of trade concerns discussed in 2015 to 92, the second-highest number in a single year since 1995.
The TBT Committee provides a forum for exchange of information at the technical level among WTO members. This dialogue helps to resolve trade frictions and avoid unnecessary disputes. WTO members have the opportunity to raise concerns in the Committee meetings about other members’ measures which they believe are not consistent with provisions of the TBT Agreement. These specific trade concerns (referred to as “STCs”) can relate to standards, testing and certification procedures, regulations or labelling requirements imposed by the importing country, which are considered to have an impact on both the companies producing these goods and consumers who utilise them. STCs highlight potentially trade-restrictive measures, and are included in the WTO’s regular trade monitoring reports.
New STCs addressed at the meeting include the following:
- Cloning: Members discussed a proposed EU ban on products derived from cloned animals. The United States and Brazil considered that this proposed measure may be more trade restrictive than necessary, and questioned the supporting scientific evidence. The EU provided an update on the ongoing decision-making process for this measure and expressed its willingness to further discuss the matter.
- Food: New food‑related discussions involved organic products as well as apples. Concerns included the limitation of entry points for apples into India (already discussed in other WTO committees) and an EU decision to withdraw “equivalence” recognition of Indian organic products (already discussed in the SPS Committee). “Equivalence” refers to governments recognizing other countries’ measures as acceptable even if they are different from their own, so long as an equivalent level of protection is provided. With respect to India’s decision to limit the entry of apples to the port of Nhava Sheva, some delegations argued that this would increase delays and create additional costs for producers and exporters. India stated that this measure was neither a technical regulation, standard nor conformity assessment procedure, and therefore did not fall within the scope of application of the TBT Agreement. Regarding the EU decision to no longer recognize equivalence of India’s organic products, India was of the view that this measure was overly burdensome for producers and would hinder trade with the EU. The EU in turn argued that India had not satisfied provisions contained in the bilateral agreement which recognized such equivalence.
The discussions will be summarized in a forthcoming document (G/TBT/M/67).
Full list of specific trade concerns
- EU — Withdrawal of equivalence for processed organic products
- India — Amendments in the import policy conditions applicable to apples
- European Union — Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Cloning of Animals of the bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine specifies kept and reproduced for farming purposes (197) and Proposal for a Council Directive on the placing on the market of food from animal clones (198)
- Russian Federation — Draft on Technical Regulation of Alcohol Drinks Safety (published on 24 October 2011)
- India — Food Safety and Standards Regulation — Food labelling requirements
- European Union — Draft Implementing Regulations amending Regulation (EC) No. 607/2009 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 479/2008 as regards protected designations of origin and geographical indications, traditional terms, labelling and presentation of certain wine sector products
- Chile — Proposed amendment to the Food Health Regulations, Supreme Decree No. 977/96
- Indonesia — Ministry of Health Regulation 30/2013 on the inclusion of sugar, salt and fat content information, as well as health messages on the label of processed foods
- Ecuador — Resolution No. 116 of the Foreign Trade Committee of Ecuador of 19 November 2013 and Technical Regulation of the Ecuadorian Standardization Institute RTE INEN 022 on the labelling of processed and packaged food products
- India — Labelling Regulations for Canola Oil
- Thailand — Draft Notification of the Alcoholic Beverages Control, Re: Rules, Procedure and condition for Labels of Alcoholic Beverages, issued under B.E.
- Ecuador — Draft Technical Regulation of the Ecuadorian Standardization Institute (PRTE INEN) No. 189: “Labelling of alcoholic beverages”
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Decree of the Saudi Arabian Ministerial Council on the sale and marketing of energy drinks of 4 March 2014
- Indonesia — Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture No. 139/Permentan/PD.4, 10 December 2014, concerning Importation of Carcass, Meat and/or Processed Meat Products into the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia, and Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture No. 02/Permentan/PD.4, 10 January 2015, concerning the Amendment of the Regulation of the Minister for Agriculture No. 139/Permentan/PD.4, 10 December 2014
- European Union — Proposed modification of Regulation (EC)1829/2003 referring to genetically modified organisms.
- Chinese Taipei — GMO Labelling
- Brazil — Draft Ordinance Act Nº. 374, 27 November 2014 (Portaria SDA/MAPA 374/2014) Establishes quality requirements for wine and derivatives of grape and wine (ID 470) (ID 470)
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