EU, Canada Approaching Accord on Inuit Seal Products

In May 2014, the European Union’s (EU) 2009 ban on imports of commercial seal products was upheld by an appellate body of the World Trade Organization after a challenge from Canada and Norway (see Summer 2014 AWI Quarterly). However, the EU was required to address discrimination against indigenous hunters in the ban’s exemption for seal products derived from subsistence hunts.

In October 2014, the EU and Canada agreed to a framework for cooperation that is expected to result in Canadian Inuit resuming the export of seal products to the EU—even if processed, manufactured and marketed by non-indigenous people. Products from seals killed in Canada’s massive commercial seal hunts will continue to be banned by the EU.