Washington International Law Journal


On July 19, 1999, Australia lifted its ban on salmon imports and announced new salmon import guidelines. The new guidelines were promulgated in response to a World Trade Organization ("WTO") Appellate Body determination that the import ban violated the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures ("SPS Agreement"). Canada challenged Australia's new import guidelines, alleging that the new guidelines also violate the SPS Agreement. The WTO dispute settlement panel held that, with the exception of only one provision, Australia's new salmon import guidelines are based on appropriate scientific risk analyses and are now in line with comparable import guidelines for non-salmonid fish. By rejecting most of Canada's challenges and substantially upholding Australia's new import guidelines, the dispute settlement panel demonstrated that the SPS Agreement can be used by WTO member countries to protect their human health interests.

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