November 13, 2018

Australia pork sector dismisses EU rapporteur's claim of protectionism


European parliamentarians had accused Australia of having a tendency to 'torture' pork import applications, following their visit to the country this month, North Queensland Register reported. 

The claim was dismissed by Australian industry leaders - including Australian Pork Limited's head, Andrew Spencer, and Meat and Livestock Australia's global manager for trade and market access, Andrew McCallum - who justified the country's strict approach to the approval of meat imports to its legitimate biosecurity rules and import risk assessment.

On the contrary, Sorin Moisa, the European special rapporteur for free trade agreement negotiations with Australia, complained that Australia is "quite protectionist" due to such lengthy approvals.

"...too few of our countries' businesses are able to export pork products to Australia... It's more than the proportional legitimate standards you would expect to have," Moisa commented, highlighting the importance of getting European pork into Australia.

Spencer instead emphasised the need to protect Australia's healthy pig herd, especially given that PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome) had struck Europe.

"Australia is a free trading nation, in direct contrast to places like the EU," he said. "It's a bit rich for them to accuse us of being difficult traders."

With per annum volumes exceeding 80,000 tonnes, the EU is Australia's biggest supplier of pork. However, there is no arrangements for the exporting of Australian pork to the EU.

- North Queensland Register