Japan lifts the ban on imports of Danish beef after other EU Member States

On 2 February 2016, Japan lifted its long-term ban on Danish beef based on an alleged risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). The decision on products from Denmark follows an earlier opening of the Japanese market to beef products from France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Poland.

Japan introduced an import ban on beef from the EU in 2001, referring to a risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). This measure went beyond the international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and did not take into account the stringent control and surveillance measures in place in the European Union guaranteeing the safety of European beef and beef products.

Commissioners Andriukaitis, Malmström and Hogan, responsible respectively for trade, agriculture and food safety, agree that “it is good news that Japan continues to approve beef exports from EU Member States. We look forward to seeing Japan open its market to remaining EU Member States in the near future. All Commission services, together with the EU Delegation to Japan, are working towards opening the Japanese market for EU beef and beef products for all those Member States that are interested in exporting”.

This is also an encouraging signal for those EU Member States that have also applied to export beef, and whose equally high level of food safety has been internationally recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Exports of beef and beef products from the EU to Japan resumed in 2013. The exports from the first 4 authorised Member States were worth €4.6 million in the first half of 2015. For Danish beef exports to effectively resume, Denmark will now need to designate the exporting establishments.

(Source: DG Sante)

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)