WTO appeal panel upholds ‘political’ EU seal ban

A World Trade Organization appeal panel has upheld the European Union’s ban on seal products.

APTN National News
OTTAWA–A World Trade Organization appeal panel has upheld the European Union’s ban on seal products.

The appeal panel upheld a previous ruling in November, finding that the ban was “necessary to protect public morals.”

Canada and Norway challenged the EU’s ban on the import of seal fur and meat products which passed in 2010.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who is an Inuk from Nunavut, International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea, issued a statement highlighting the silver lining in the ruling.

The ministers’ focused on the appeal panel also finding that exemptions to the seal ban favoured seal products from Greenland.

“The WTO appellate body confirmed that the EU measure violates its international obligations and has ordered the EU to bring itself into compliance,” said the statement. “We are currently reviewing the practical impact of the decision on the Atlantic and northern seal harvest.”

The statement said the Harper government had fought the EU seal ban “for more than three years.” The ministers’ said the EU move was purely political and had no basis in science.

“Unfortunately the panel also took the view that such a ban can be justified due to some of the public’s concerns regarding seal harvesting,” said the statement. “Our government was proud to launch an appeal of that decision and stand up for Canadian sealers and vigorously defend the interests of Canada’s Inuit and Indigenous communities.”

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