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On 12 October 2017 the European Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture organised a joint International Seminar on Control of Animal Diseases in Beijing.
EU and China are major trade partners and food products are an important component of this bilateral trade representing annually more than 15 billion euros. But trading products of animal origin is not always an easy task because of the risk of spreading of animal and human diseases agents. Cooperation in the field of animal health is therefore essential to mitigate the risks as pathogens ignore borders.
Dr Romano Marabelli representing the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) underlined the importance of international standards and declared “Protecting human and animal health is our main objective while not creating unjustified obstacles to trade. We want consumers from all over the World to have a large choice of safe, wholesome and nutritious foods.”
Many key experts from China and the EU presented details of animal health control measures, including regionalisation principles, which allow restrictive trade measures to be limited to the strict minimum in case of outbreaks while not jeopardising the health status of importing countries.
One of the European Commission representatives highlighted the close cooperation between EU and China and said: “Food is at the centre of European and Chinese cultures and cooperating on animal health is essential to ensure predictability for economic operators investing in trade”.
This seminar is the third event of a specific cooperation programme on food safety between EU and China building closer links between the two biggest trade partners of the World. It represented an important step to reinforce the understanding of each other approaches towards building trust in each other systems.