[WTO Case Review Series No.19] United States—Measures Affecting the Importation of Animals, Meat and Other Animal Products from Argentina (WT/DS447): A delay in the review procedures upon request for imports and the SPS Agreement

Author Name ISHIKAWA Yoshimichi (University of Shizuoka)
Creation Date/NO. July 2017 17-P-023
Research Project Comprehensive Research on the Current International Trade/Investment System (pt.III)
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Even if animal diseases occur within a country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) may officially recognize either its entire territory or a region thereof as disease-free on the conditions of undertaking vaccination and so on. Based upon this official recognition, this country normally requires importing Members adopting sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures against its products to reopen the market. In response to this request, importing Members are required to launch review procedures, including a risk assessment. However, when the veterinary authorities of importing Members fail to complete their review procedures within a certain period of time (in this dispute, the United States took almost 12 years), such a delay allowing the SPS measures at issue to continue might lead to significant restrictions on international trade. Thus, this article will explore how the SPS Agreement is designed to discipline a delay in the review procedure upon request for imports by exporting Members through not only procedural (Article 8, Appendix C) but also substantive provisions (e.g., Articles 2, 3, 5, and 6). It will also attempt to examine the possible implications derived from this case for Japan's agricultural policy.