June 4, 2015
7 countries lift import restrictions on EU poultry
The EU has welcomed the lifting or partial lifting of restrictions imposed by seven countries on poultry imports from member states that had reported outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
At the same time, the European Commission (EC) in a note on Monday lamented that the import restrictions made by the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine were "unjustified".
The EC said, "The EU welcomes the lifting of these measures, though countrywide bans should not have been imposed in the first place. The EU had immediately rolled out stringent regionalisation measures for the affected areas which guaranteed safe trade from areas that remained free of the disease".
The EC said the EU's regionalisation measures should be respected by its trading partners. "The EU measures are strictly applied, are in line with international standards and have proven to be very effective. During the recent outbreaks, poultry and poultry products of the EU have continued to be traded in full safety. Indeed, the international trade rules under the World Trade Organisation are very clear and call for applying the least trade restrictive measures and to recognise the regionalisation measures put in place so that trade can continue to take place from the disease-free areas," it said.
The lifting of the restrictions on poultry imports should be a relief to the EU since exports of poultry and poultry products form a substantial part of the its global trade. The regional bloc exported 2.5 billion euros' (US$ 2.8 billion) worth of poultry and poultry products including eggs in 2013.
HPAI of the subtype H5N8 was detected in poultry, and captive and wild birds in Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, Italy and Hungary between November last year and February this year.
HPAI of the subtype H5N1 (the "Asian strain") was detected this year in poultry and wild birds in Bulgaria and in wild birds only in Romania.