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WTO cases | Geneva, November 25th 2013

Report of the WTO panel upholds EU’s ban on seal products

The WTO circulated today the final panel report concerning the dispute on the EU’s prohibition on the importation and marketing of seal products. The WTO Panel rejected claims formulated by Canada and Norway and confirmed that the EU’s ban is justified on moral grounds. The EU rules were adopted to give voice to a genuine concern of EU citizens.

The Panel also accepted that an exception for seal products derived from traditional hunting by Inuit people can be justified as it responds to the internationally recognised need to preserve the Inuit culture. The panel found however that the EU's exception was formulated and applied in a discriminatory manner as in fact the Canadian Inuit are not currently benefiting from it. The EU has argued and continues to believe that the fact that the Canadian Inuit are not using the exemption to date cannot be attributed to the EU or the EU’s seals regime.

The Commission will now analyse the report in detail before deciding on next steps.

The full text of the report