Vietnam to lift 16-year-old ban on French beef
Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Hoang TrungHai has asked the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to lift its 16-year-old ban on French beef and cattle.
He ordered the agency to coordinate with French exporters for a smooth resumption of beef and cattle trade between France and Vietnam.
In 1998, at the height of the Mad Cow disease epidemic in Europe, Vietnam banned beef and cattle imports from France.
In 2008, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) announced that France had successfully gotten Mad Cow disease under control.
Scientists suspect the disease is linked to a similar fatal brain-wasting disease that occurs in humans called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
France has since exported beef to Brazil, the US, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
In 2011, relevant agencies in France asked the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to lift the ban.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam consumes about 4,000 cows a day.
Most of those cows come from domestic farms as well as farms in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and (increasingly) Australia.
Australian cattle imports increased from 3,000 cows in 2012 to 67,000 last year and 120,000 in the first seven months of this year.
Vietnam has surpassed China to become Australia's second-largest cow importer after Indonesia.