US, Mexico, Canada calls for lifting pork bans

May 8th, 2009 - 3:14 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 8 (DPA) The US, Mexico and Canada Thursday urged trading partners around the world to lift all restrictions on pork products that were adopted because of the swine flu outbreak, and left open the possibility of court action to remove the barriers.
In a joint statement by their top trade officials, the three North American countries said the bans violated international trade rules and pointed to assurances from the World Health Organization (WHO) that swine flu could not be contracted by eating meat.

More than a dozen countries, including China and Russia, have limited pork imports in recent weeks as the H1N1 virus has spread from its epicentre in North America. Some have banned all meat products.

The WHO has reported 2,099 cases of the virus in 23 countries, including 1,112 laboratory-confirmed cases in Mexico, 642 in the US and 201 in Canada.

The trade officials said other countries’ pork bans were “without scientific justification and inconsistent with their international obligations” and could cause “significant economic damage”.

“We urge our trading partners to remove these restrictions on our products immediately. We will continue to follow this situation closely, and will take any steps to prevent the enforcement of unjustified measures against our exports, as appropriate,” read the statement.

Mexico this week sent a document to the World Trade Organisation, calling on the body’s members to lift all pork restrictions and comply with the WTO’s rules.

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