Summary
International trade in bees and bee products is a complex issue, affected by their different origins and uses. The trade in bees, which poses the main risk for disease dissemination, is very active and not all transactions may be officially registered by the competent authorities. Globally, bee health continues to deteriorate as pathogens, pests, parasites and diseases are spread internationally through legitimate trade, smuggling and well-intentioned but ill-advised bee introductions by professionals. International trade rules strengthen the ability of many countries to protect bee health while trading but also carry obligations. Countries that are Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) should only restrict imports to protect against identifiable health risks. If imports are safe, trade should be permitted. The trading rules of the WTO have given greater importance to the international standards applicable to bee health, developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health, which aims to prevent the spread of animal diseases while facilitating international trade in animals and animal products.
 
Keywords
Apis mellifera – Bee product – Bee – Disease – Honey bee – International trade – Parasite – Pathogen – Pest – Regulation – Risk assessment – SPS Agreement – World Organisation for Animal Health – World Trade Organization.