Harper Government to Appeal WTO Decision on EU Ban on Seal Products

November 25, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today issued the following statement:

“On February 11, 2011, our government requested the establishment of a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel to challenge the European Union’s unfair ban on seal products in order to stand up for Canadian sealers and to vigorously defend the interests of Canada’s Inuit and Indigenous communities.

“Today the WTO panel found that the European Union’s import ban on Canadian seal products violates its international trade obligations. Canada will appeal to the WTO Appellate Body any findings that would allow this unfair ban to continue.

“The WTO panel confirmed Canada’s long-standing position that the EU ban is discriminatory and treats Canadian seal products unfairly. However, the panel also took the view that such a ban can be justified due to some of the public’s concerns regarding seal harvesting.

“Canada remains steadfast in its position that the seal harvest is a humane, sustainable and well-regulated activity. Any views to the contrary are based on myths and misinformation, and the Panel’s findings should be of concern to all WTO members.

“As we said in the Speech from the Throne, our government will continue to defend the seal hunt, an important source of food and income for coastal and Inuit communities. In appealing any findings allowing this unfair ban to continue, we stand behind the thousands of Canadians in coastal and northern communities who depend on the seal harvest to provide a livelihood for their families and to maintain their culture, traditions and quality of life.

“The Canadian government, with the full support and active engagement of Canadian industry, will continue to consult and work closely with stakeholders and our co-complainant, Norway.”

For more information, please visit WTO issues panel reports on EU measures on seal products.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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