EU/US back before WTO — this time at EU's call
EU challenging ongoing sanctions by the U.S. and Canada stemming from its ban of hormone beef

November 8, 2004, as reported by just-food.com: This time it is the EU that will be taking the U.S. and Canada before for the World Trade Organization challenging ongoing sanctions by the overseas trade partners over its ban on hormone beef.

The European Union is questioning the fairness of the sanctions against it, arguing that it has removed the measures that were deemed WTO-inconsistent when the row originally broke out in 1998 leaving no justification for the continuing sanctions.

“There is no reason why European companies should continue to be targeted by sanctions when they export to Canada and the United States. The EU ban on certain growth promoting hormones is now in full respect of our international obligations. We have put in place revised legislation based on a thorough and independent scientific risk assessment,” said EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy.

In February 1998, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body ruled against the EU’s ban on certain growth promoting beef hormones, deciding that EU legislation at the time was not based on a proper scientific risk assessment and the supporting scientific evidence was insufficient.

The EU has worked to eliminate those deficiencies by basing the new EU Hormones Directive of September 22, 2003 on a full scientific risk assessment that was conducted over the years 1999-2002. The new directive maintains the permanent ban on oestradiol 17ß and imposes a provisional ban on five other hormones (testosterone, progesterone, trenbolone acetate, zeranol and melengestrol acetate) because of perceived risks to human health.

On October 27, 2003, the EU notified the WTO that it had implemented the WTO ruling of 1998 and that Canada and the US should therefore lift their sanctions. The North American countries disagreed and refused to lift their sanctions.