The European Commission (EC) has welcomed a move by the US to recognise the EU regionalisation system put in place to contain the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), rather than the previous US treatment of the EU on a region-by-region basis.
“This recognition will help to avoid trade disruptions in the event of an outbreak of a disease,” said the EC today, pointing out that trade in pork products between the EU and the US last year was worth approximately €335 million (£246m).
“This significant move reflects the confidence of the US in our robust system to control animal diseases,” said the EU Commissioner for health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis. “Coming at a time when pig farmers across the EU face particular difficulties, it is of crucial importance that unjustified restrictions on imports of European pork are lifted”.
The US action, coming from the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), recognises any EU region that the EU or any EU Member State has placed under restriction because of ASF. In so doing, the US APHIS recognises the EU as a single entity with a single animal health legislation, veterinary oversight and disease control programmes.
The significance of this is that, rather than carrying out its own assessment, the US will accept EU decisions regarding regions affected by ASF. Prior to this notice, the US restricted or prohibited imports of pork and pork products from regions where ASF existed, with such regions being listed on the APHIS website individually.
The new rule means that from now on the list will simply refer to any restricted zone in the EU, as established by the EU.