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Meeting of the First Sanitary and Phytosanitary Joint Management Committee (JMC)

Ottawa, 26-27 March 2018


The inaugural CETA Joint Management Committee (JMC) meeting for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, following the provisional application of CETA on September 21, 2017, took place on March 26-27 in Ottawa. The European Union (EU) and Canada have a long and productive history of cooperation on SPS issues including through a veterinary agreement and years of cooperation through various international fora. The purpose of the meeting was to further expand the existing bilateral dialogue and cooperation on SPS issues in light of CETA. Follow-up actions were identified on the issues discussed in this meeting.

The agenda for the meeting was challenging and progress was made in a number of areas. In particular, both the EU and Canada were able to clarify each other's positions in key areas of interest and committed to ongoing work to advance issues of interest on both sides.

Both sides shared information on: the latest regulatory developments in the area of SPS which might impact trade; the tentative planning of upcoming audits; transparency and timely communication of new disease outbreaks; and, updates on ongoing work related to e-certification.

Exchanges also took place on specific issues relating to plant health, where Canada confirmed its follow-up on the application of Italy and some Members States for imports of fresh tomato with vines, stems, and calyces into Canada and on potato minitubers.

Both sides also committed to continue working together on a project on alternatives to the use of methyl bromide.

The EU committed to explore ways to reducing the time required for recognition of Canadian regionalisation decisions and both sides committed to exchange information on recognition of regionalisation decisions in the plant health area. The need for further follow-up on the simplification of the process to list export-approved establishments was also discussed and the EU informed about recent amendments regarding the certification of fish landed in Canada by EU-approved vessels and re-exported to the EU.

As an outcome of the discussion on animal issues, both sides agreed to continue to work at the technical level to resolve pending issues related to Schmallenberg virus and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease virus in order to facilitate trade of live animals and germplasm.

While both sides agreed that Canada's recognition of EU Member State's meat inspection systems is a high priority, no immediate way forward was identified. The EU referred to the political commitment that was made back in 2014; Canada underlined that it required further assurances that exported products meet EU and Canadian health and safety standards in order to deliver on this important issue. Canada remains open to continue to work in collaboration with the EU to demonstrably advance work on this file.

Both sides identified a path forward to further identify ways to continue the important cooperation on animal welfare and antimicrobial resistance. A discussion was held on the necessity for direct exchanges between experts on these issues and a path forward in this regard will be defined in the coming months.

The EU committed to provide Canada information on interaction of EU Regulation 1107/2009 and EU Regulation 396/2005 with respect to the setting of import tolerances for pesticides, including in relation to the possible non-renewal of the EU maximum residue level (MRL) for picoxystrobin. The EU committed to providing information on the legal procedures it takes when a Member State adopts a measure that is or that may be perceived by a third party to be inconsistent with EU rules or the EU’s international trade obligations in a manner that would affect trade within the EU or with third parties.

The following agenda points were deferred to a later occasion: export of live cattle from EU to Canada; harmonised conditions for equine semen from the EU to Canada; harmonised conditions for porcine semen from the EU to Canada; hatching eggs and day-old-chicks, harmonised certificates; simplified certificates; closure of EU’s audit of CFIA’s fish inspection activities; closure of EU’s audit of CFIA’s National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program (NCRMP); pesticide residue levels; update and findings CFIA's offshore program; and, export of processed animal proteins from the EU to Canada - audit rendering plants.

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