November 8, 2019
China will trial 'regional method' to manage imports from livestock disease-affected EU countries
Phil Hogan, European Union (EU) commissioner said the new approach, to be tested with France, aims to respond to livestock disease outbreaks without disrupting trade, reported Reuters.
He said China's customs authorities have agreed in principle to trial the regional method, which could be implemented throughout the European Union if successful.
Phil Hogan is the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and incoming Trade Commissioner.
The regional method of managing a livestock disease outbreak limits only areas in a country where the disease has been reported from exporting the affected livestock products.
If a country reports only one outbreak of livestock disease in an area, China generally bans imports from the entire country – causing trade losses as the ban is only lifted after several years. China is the world's highest importer of pork and beef's fastest growing importer.
Hogan said China has considered to trial the regional method with France, with full implementation in 2020. This means that if one small outbreak is reported in France, the entire country won't be banned from exporting to China.
The EU and its member states have urged China to study the regional method as a way of reducing the impact on trade due to livestock disease outbreaks.
The regional method is already implemented in the EU for livestock diseases such as the African swine fever (ASF) and avian influenza, but this is not recognised by China.
France President Emmanuel Macron visited China this week, agreeing to collaborate on technical changes between the two countries which may result in an agreement on zoning to combat ASF in 2020.
Meat exports to China are estimated to hit two million tonnes (35% increase) in 2019 because of the effects of ASF on China's pork supply.