Home>News Center>China

EU may lift animal imports bans on China
By Li Jing & Zhang Jin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-20 00:45

The European Union (EU) is on the verge of scrapping a two-year-old ban on a number of the Chinese animal imports, but restrictions on poultry, pork, beef and dairy products will still remain, a European Commission (EC) delegation to China said Monday.

"The lift has been approved by the Member States Meeting in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health last Friday," said Franz Jessen, deputy head of the delegation.

The elimination of the restriction will be formalized by the EC in next few weeks and will take effect shortly after that approval, Jessen told reporters.

The move will allow China to resume exports of shrimps, farmed fish, honey, royal jelly, rabbit meat and a number of other products of animal origin in recognition of China's "significant improvements" in meeting veterinary standards.

"Exporters will have their products checked by the Chinese food safety authorities and each consignment will be certified as meeting the relevant EU food safety standards," said Jessen.

However, the ban on the import of poultry products from China still remains in place because of safety concerns, particularly given the recent re-emergence of avian influenza in East Asia.

The EU is still discussing with the Chinese Government about the resumption of poultry imports, Jessen said.

However, no timetable was set on that issue, he added.

In January 2002, shortly after China joined the World Trade Organization, the EU suspended imports of all products of animal origin from China after finding residues of veterinary medicines in food.

"The ban was triggered by a customs inspection that reportedly found 24 batches of Chinese frozen shrimps contaminated with antibiotic chloramphenicol, but the main reason is that the EU considered China's system to control residues of veterinary medicines in farmed animals to be too lax," said Guo Yunfeng, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Guo said his ministry had taken a range of measures to tighten food and feed safety controls in the past couple of years.

"We have issued a number of notices and rules to strengthen the management and supervision on medical residues of seafood and straighten out irregularities in the industry," said Guo, who is engaged in the management of aquatic products at the ministry.

He said in 2002, 94.9 per cent of aquatic products checked met national standards of medical residues, and in 2003, the rate climbed to 99.6 per cent.

"It's a piece of good news that the EU decided to ease import restrictions. We have full confidence in the quality of seafood exports and we will continue our efforts on food safety supervision," said Guo.

Commenting on the current Sino-EU trade relations, Jessen said he is glad to see the brisk growth rate of the two-way trade, which increased by 36 per cent in the first five months year-on-year.

And the EU has replaced Japan to become China's largest trading partner after its newest enlargement into a 25-member bloc in May.

China is currently the EU's second largest trading partner.

In response to the heavily-reported market economy status matter, Jessen said the EU and China continue working closely on that issue.

The EU made a preliminary verdict in June, saying China fails to meet the EU criteria.

But Jessen said the status will not be a hurdle to bilateral trade, as only 0.5 per cent of Chinese exports are subject to the EU's anti-dumping rulings.

  Today's Top News     Top China News

AFC official apologizes for tirade of misunderstanding



Intense flood strain builds up



Green policies vital for healthy development



100 foreign banks now offer RMB services



US looking into whether Iran involved in 9/11



Safety of Chinese abroad on work agenda


  China revises up GDP growth in first half of 2003
  Shanghai set for huge tourism gala
  Guideline issued for companies to invest overseas
  Intense flood strain builds up
  Seven killed, 27 injured in road accident
  Unqualified teaching websites shut down
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  When will china have direct elections?