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Statement by Trade Ministers of the United States, Canada and Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C. - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Canadian Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia Pacific Gateway Stockwell Day, and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos today issued the following statement calling for an end to unscientific bans on pork imports from their respective countries due to the fears of the H1N1 flu virus, noting the large and negative economic impact of such bans. More than a dozen countries worldwide have sought to ban pork imports from H1N1-affected nations:

“We would like to express our concern for the victims of the current outbreak of H1N1 human influenza. Our governments remain committed to doing everything possible to bring the outbreak under control. “We are also concerned that some trading partners are imposing restrictions on trade in swine, pork and other meat products from North America that are without scientific justification and inconsistent with their international obligations. These unjustified restrictions will likely result in serious trade disruptions without cause and result in significant economic damage.

“On May 2, the World Health Organization [WHO], the World Organization for Animal Health [OIE], the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] and the World Trade Organization issued a statement saying that ‘there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food. There is currently therefore no justification in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Code for the imposition of trade measures on the importation of pigs or their products.’ They stressed that ‘pork and pork products, handled in accordance with good hygienic practices recommended by the WHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius Commission and the OIE, will not be a source of infection.’

“In view of the above, 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.”