WTO Establishes Dispute Settlement Panel on EU Seal Ban
ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 4 April 2011

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: After consultations failed to yield a resolution, on 25 March the WTO formally established the dispute settlement panel initiated by Canada, to determine whether an EU regulation banning imports of seal products complies with WTO rules. The EU ban on seal products is based on arguments that seal harvesting practices are “inherently cruel” and “inhumane.” The only exceptions to the ban concern seal products derived from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities, which contribute to their subsistence; and those that are by-products of a hunt regulated by national law and with the sole purpose of sustainable management of marine resources. Canada argues that seal harvesting in Canada is done humanely and that its sealing practices are safe, sustainable and economically legitimate. Norway joined Canada, arguing that none of the seal species hunted were endangered or listed under CITES. Read the article …

EU herbal medicines law set for legal challenge
EurActiv.com, 1 April 2011

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: An EU ban on unregistered herbal medicine will be difficult to implement fairly and is set to be challenged in the courts, campaigners have claimed in advance of an impending deadline for the sector. On 1 May the EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive – first passed in 2004 – will come into full effect, compelling herbalists to conform to new standards. Under the directive, all herbal medicinal products are required to obtain an authorization to market within the EU. The intended use of a herbal medicine will only be authorized on the basis of its traditional history and/or the recognized pharmacological properties of the herbal ingredients. But campaigners for the industry are set to challenge the full introduction of the directive and claim that member states are adopting varying standards to its implementation. Read the article …