External agro-trade: EU assists member states

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Management in the European agricultural sector is a shared competence between the EU institutions and the states. Hence, the Commission’s task is to support the member states in facilitating export in the world and ensure that foreign consumers can benefit from high-quality EU products. The Commission hopes to build on this success and develop similar constructive cooperation with other trading partners based on the recognition of the EU regionalisation system.

Globally, agriculture is confronted with an era of great transformation fueled by substantial challenges such as climate change, carbon neutrality and digital transformation. Adapting to such changes has become the ultimate goal of all agro-industries in the world.
Productive cooperation with the Korean partners, with whom the EU has worked closely on trade-related issues since trade agreement in 2011, is a good example of EU efforts to assist the member states’ agricultural sector, the efforts which will greatly benefit European producers in the currently difficult economic circumstances.

After intense high-level discussion between the European Commission and the Republic of Korea, EU has reached an agreement according to which the EU member states are able now to export pork and poultry to the Republic of Korea more easily. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of the Republic of Korea (MAFRA)* has decided to remove a longstanding trade barrier which affected EU exports of pork and poultry products, as the Republic of Korea now recognizes the EU’s stringent regionalisation measures to control outbreaks of African swine fever and the highly pathogenic avian influenza. This decision could unlock over one billion euros of trade in the next years.

*) Note. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of Korea is headed by the 66th in a row minister, Chung Hwang-keun. MAFRA is making: making agriculture leap forward as the future growth industry; turning rural areas into comfortable residences, workplaces and refreshing retreats; supporting farmers to have a more stable income; and ensuring people enjoy healthy and safe food. More in: https://www.mafra.go.kr/english/763/subview.do

Until the agreement, the Republic of Korea imposed a countrywide ban on imports of pork or poultry from EU member states affected with African swine fever and/or highly pathogenic avian influenza, even though the EU has a strict system of regionalisation by which outbreaks are contained within an affected region to prevent spread to other regions.
With the recognition of the EU’s regionalisation measures, which are now reflected in the Republic of Korea’s revised import health requirements; it now allows the continuation of exports from areas in EU states which are free of these diseases instead of imposing a countrywide ban when outbreaks of these animal diseases occur.
This trade facilitating measure followed a thorough assessment carried out by the Republic of Korea on the EU regionalisation control measures. After a technical assessment, the Republic of Korea concluded that trade can continue to take place safely from disease-free areas from EU member states affected by these diseases.

Source: press release “Commission helps resume trade in European pork and poultry to the Republic of Korea”, in: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_5285

Decision’s benefits
The EU-RK agreement benefits 11 EU countries that have been authorised to export poultry and poultry products to the Republic of Korea – Germany, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, France, Finland, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Lithuania.
Besides, other 14 member states have been authorised to export pork and pork products – Germany, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, France, Finland, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Slovakia, Austria, Ireland, and Portugal.
The Commission welcomes this important step taken by the Republic of Korea as it demonstrates trust in the EU control system. This decision allows for more stable trade which is not only beneficial to EU exporters, but it means also that Korean consumers can continue to benefit from high quality and safe pork and poultry products from the EU.
With this decision, the Republic of Korea further aligns its import conditions with commitments it has undertaken in the WTO and in the EU-Republic of Korea free trade agreement, concluded the Commission in the press release.


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