In 2006, Canada exported $18 million in seal products including $5.4 million to the EU.
Canada has taken and will continue to take strong action to ensure access to the European market for all Canadian exports of seal products. WTO consultations will allow Canada and the European Communities to discuss their respective positions regarding seal products.
On September 25, 2007, the Government of Canada requested formal consultations under the WTO dispute settlement process to address the decision by Belgium and the Netherlands to ban the importation and marketing of Canadian seal products (See ARCHIVED - Canada’s request (PDF Document - 945 KB). On July 31, 2007, Canada had announced that consultations would be requested in relation to the Belgian measures. (See news release)
The Dutch and Belgian measures are inconsistent with their various WTO obligations arising from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1994 (GATT) and the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
WTO consultations, as requested by Canada in this dispute, provide a forum for parties to seek a resolution through dialogue.
A request for consultations is the first formal step in the WTO dispute settlement process. Further information about the WTO dispute settlement process can be obtained from the following WTO web page (Understanding the WTO: Settling Disputes)