Skip to content

NEWS: European court rejects challenge against EU seal ban, CETA implications?

CTV reports, “A court has upheld the European Union’s three-year-old ban on seal products, dealing another blow to Canada’s embattled sealing industry. The General Court of the European Union issued a statement today saying it has rejected a challenge from a group that included the Canadian Fur Institute and the Inuit. The Luxembourg-based court says the existing ban is valid because it fairly harmonizes the EU market while protecting the economic and social interests of Inuit communities.”

This follows an earlier court ruling on the same ban. In September 2011, Postmedia News reported, “The European General Court has dismissed a bid by Canadian commercial sealers to overturn the 2010 European Union prohibition on trade in seal products. …A separate application by the sealers group, which questions how the ban would be enforced in Europe, is still before the court.”

The European Union is opposed to the seal hunt and it has been identified by them as an obstacle in the continuing Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations.

May 2009 – The 736-seat European Parliament voted by a 550-49 margin to impose a ban on the import of Canadian seal products.

July 2010 – An Environics poll found that, “70 percent of Canadians agree that the commercial seal hunt damages Canada’s international reputation; 57 percent of Canadians feel that the EU ban on seal products is a step in the right direction; and 57 percent of Canadians say that the Canadian government’s (intention) to challenge the EU ban on seal products is a step in the wrong direction.”

February 2011 – Postmedia News reported, “Canada has launched a challenge at the World Trade Organization against the European Union ban on Canadian seal products, despite the views of some that it could threaten a multibillion-dollar trade deal with Europe.”

October 2011 – The Corner Brook, Newfoundland Western Star reported, “Over 100 MEPs have signed a statement (that calls) on Canada to withdraw its challenge of the European Union’s ban on Canadian seal products at the World Trade Organization, prior to any movement forward on the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.”

September 2012 – Trade campaigner Stuart Trew wrote, “Canada and Norway are moving ahead with their joint disputes at the World Trade Organization against a popular European Union ban on importing seal products. Almost immediately, members of the European Parliament shot back with veiled threats to scuttle the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.”

February 2013 – Trew wrote, “Canada and Norway made their initial arguments yesterday at the World Trade Organization against the European Union’s 2009 ban on seal products. …It will be months before we know whether the WTO agrees with Canada that the seal ban is an illegal technical barrier to trade…”

For more, please read:
Canada, Norway defend seal hunt at WTO this week
Canada’s WTO challenge to European seal product ban moves ahead despite real threat to free trade talks
NEWS: 100 MEPs say, ‘No CETA if Harper challenges seal hunt ban at WTO’
NEWS: Harper government and European Commission clash over the seal hunt