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Food and Feed Safety (05-04-2005)

EU-Canada agreement to simplify import rules for pork products and bovine semen – and other achievements under the EU-Canada Veterinary Agreement

The Commission has adopted a decision to simplify import rules for Canadian pork products and bovine semen, following an EU-Canada agreement to mutually recognise production standards and food safety measures for these products. Such an equivalence agreement enables both sides to adopt simplified import certificates for these products, which should increase trade and reduce the costs of production, inspection and certification. This is the first equivalence agreement that has been established in animal products between the EU and Canada. It opens the way for further mutual recognition of standards, as foreseen under the EU-Canada Veterinary Agreement, and work has started on similar agreements for dairy products, fisheries, live bivalve molluscs and potentially other animal health issues.

Agreement on a new simplified listing procedure has also created much shorter time frames for authorising EU establishments for export to Canada.

The EU’s Health and Consumer Protection Directorate and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which are responsible for the implementation and administration of the EU-Canada Veterinary Agreement, have also concluded an arrangement on information sharing. This arrangement will help both agencies to respond in situations where there is a risk to human, animal, or plant health.

The EU-Canada Veterinary Agreement also provides for “regionalisation” measures to be taken, whereby in the event of an animal disease outbreak, both sides can limit import restrictions to the affected regions, rather than applying them to the entire territory. This was effective during the 2004 avian flu outbreak in British Columbia, when the EU only applied restrictions to the exports of the particular Canadian province concerned. Likewise, the CFIA recognises the EU regionalisation measures for pig diseases in the EU-15, and is looking into extending this recognition to all Member States.

All these achievements demonstrate the effectiveness of the work under the EU-Canada Veterinary Agreement. The Agreement works on the principle that, while the respective EU and Canadian systems differ in many important respects, they have the same objective and results, namely high levels of animal health and food safety. The momentum generated by the good progress will encourage new initiatives under the EU-Canada Veterinary Agreement, leading to further benefits for trade between both partners.

For text of the EU-Canada Veterinary agreement, click here.