In April 2011, Canada and Norway requested the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel to get an independent assessment of the EU’s Seal Regime. The Seal Regime imposes strict requirements on trade in seal products in the EU. Norwegian seal products do not fulfill the requirements and have consequently not been traded on the EU market since the regime entered into force in 2010.
The panel found that the Seal Regime is designed in a discriminatory manner that violates the EU’s WTO obligations, as argued by Norway and Canada. However, the panel did not find the Seal Regime to be more trade-restrictive than necessary.
The parties to the dispute may file an appeal within 60 days of the circulation of the panel reports. Norway is now considering whether parts of the report should be appealed. If none of the parties decide to appeal, the report will be adopted by the WTOs Dispute Settlement Body.