Veterinary Agreement to boost EU-New Zealand trade in animal products

Technical amendments to the EU-New Zealand Agreement on sanitary measures in live animals and animal products have recently been made to boost existing trade relations. This updated agreement, which has been in place since 1996, is the most advanced international bilateral agreement in the area of animal health, animal welfare and food safety systems.

Key innovative features that will lead to further trade opportunities whilst reducing costs for exporters are:

  • Enhanced equivalence provisions including EU standards for raw milk products;
  • Mutual recognition of microbiological controls and chemical testing standards for seafood;
  • Trade conditions to permit trade in certain products with agreed treatments during disease outbreaks;
  • Reduced physical inspection rates on products;
  • Resumption of fresh pig meat exports to New Zealand; and
  • Simplified certification and a move to electronic certification in 2016.

Worth €427 million in 2014, EU agricultural exports to New Zealand have increased significantly with a 20% annual average growth over the last five years. Several key commodities have also experienced high growth over recent years including pork products and cheese. New Zealand has authorised imports of high value raw milk products, such as Roquefort, Camembert and Emmental and fresh pig meat, from the EU. Both these products have significant potential for growth.  New Zealand was also the very first country in the world to re-authorise exports of EU beef following the BSE crisis.

Other important benefits of cooperation between the EU and New Zealand are:

  • The EU and New Zealand are complementary suppliers of high-quality products.  Because New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, their production and exports peak in a way that is counter-cyclical to EU pastoral producers.  This means products from New Zealand complement those from the EU, maintaining year round availability of certain products.
  • The EU is New Zealand’s largest source of imported goods and services.
  • Through the mutual recognition of regionalisation under the Agreement, trade in animal products such as pork to continue, despite recent EU outbreaks of African Swine Fever, from regions that remain unaffected by the disease.

These benefits bring substantial economic incentives and maintain sustainable trade flows between both parties.

For more details:

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/1084 of 18 February 2015 approving on behalf of the European Union certain amendments to Annexes II, V, VII and VIII to the Agreement between the European Community and New Zealand on sanitary measures applicable to trade in live animals and animal products (notified under document C(2015) 797), OJ L 175, 4.7.2015, p. 45–123.

(Source: DG Sante website)

QeA to EU Commission – Animal welfare and export of live animals to third countries

Question for written answer to the Commission – Marlene Mizzi (S&D) – 30th March 2015

Subject:  Export of live animals to countries outside Europe

When EU animals are exported live to countries outside the EU they are no longer protected by European animal welfare law. Investigations by Compassion in World Farming into slaughter in the Middle East have shown that animals are beaten and tied up and have their throats stabbed and hacked at while they are fully conscious.

Can the Commission clarify what measures have been taken to protect exported animals against abuse and cruel treatment in countries outside the EU?

Is the Commission considering taking urgent action to stop this animal trade?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 11th June 2015

The Commission is aware of the ongoing debate on issues concerning slaughterhouses in the Middle East and is taking this matter seriously.

The Commission has brought this issue to the attention of the Chief Veterinary Officers of the Member States. Furthermore, the Commission organised the first multi-beneficiary Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) workshop on welfare practices at the time of slaughter in Beirut in March 2015. The workshop aimed to address the information pointing towards serious failures by slaughterhouses in meeting international OIE guidelines and standards on welfare at the time of slaughter. Experts from the EU and other countries, including from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), presented information and shared experiences in best practice for slaughter with participants from Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt and Algeria.

The Commission is not considering banning exports of live animals. However, according to a recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (1) in case of a long journey of animals with destination in a third country, the organiser of the journey must submit to the competent authorities of the place of departure a realistic journey log which indicates that the provisions of the EU Regulation (2) on the protection of animals during transport will be complied with, including in the stages of the journey taking place outside the EU. The Commission is currently studying the judgment to assess its practical implications.

(1) Judgment in Case C-424/13 Zuchtvieh-Export

(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations; OJ L 3, 5.1.2005, p. 1.

(Source: EU Parliament website)