Canada wins beef with EU over imports

The World Trade Organization’s appeal body ruled in favour of Canada in an ongoing dispute with the European Union over the EU’s ban on imports of Canadian beef from cattle treated with growth hormones.

The decision came on Oct. 16.

“Canadian beef is a symbol of excellence in the global marketplace and we are pleased that the World Trade Organi­zation appellate body has con­firmed that Canada is not in violation of any of its WTO obligations,” said Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “This government will ensure Canada-EU commercial relations remain strong and mutually beneficial while we con­tinue to stand up for the in­ter­ests of Canadian producers.”

Canada and the United States have consistently oppos­ed the EU ban on the impor­tation of beef from hormone-treated cattle since it was im­posed in 1989. Both countries maintain that the EU has not been able to prove there are scientific reasons for a ban.

In 1998, the WTO agreed with Canada and the United States on the matter and in 1999 it allowed both countries to retaliate by increasing duties on certain EU imports.

Now the WTO appeal body has also reversed a decision by another WTO panel which had found in March 2008 that Can­ada’s retaliatory measures were inconsistent with certain WTO procedural obligations.

The federal government is carefully reviewing the report and considering its next steps in consultation with stake­holders. The appellate decision must be adopted by the WTO dispute settlement body within 30 days of its release date.