Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments go, to try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations. But the WTO is not just about liberalizing trade, and in some circumstances its rules support maintaining trade barriers — for example to protect consumers, prevent the spread of disease or protect the environment.
Experts from CVM’s Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation have provided scientific support to the U.S. Trade Representative as part of the World Trade Organization Appellate Body Hearing covering the European Community growth hormones case in Geneva during July 2008 and earlier as part of this on-going trade dispute. The hearing’s purpose was to consider the European Community’s appeal of the WTO panel decision affirming the safety of the use of FDA approved hormones in beef. The appellate decision sustained the United States and Canadian science-based determination of the safety of beef produced using approved production animal drugs.