After almost 20 years, the Republic of Korea has lifted its import restrictions on beef and beef products from some European Union member states. Producers from Denmark and the Netherlands are the first ones to be able to resume exports.
“Trade isn't just about doing trade deals. After many years of hard work, this announcement means that Dutch and Danish farmers gain a new market to sell their beef,” Cecilia Malmström, EU commissioner for trade, said. “Once again, the EU is delivering for our agricultural sector.”
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan welcomed the development, saying it is an important statement of confidence by South Korean authorities in the safety and quality of European beef.
“Following confirmation of access for Danish and Dutch operators, I hope that it won't be long before operators in other EU member states are approved for export to this important and valuable market. Securing access for other EU member states will continue to be a priority for the European Commission in bilateral trade relations with Korea,” Hogan said.
The opening of the Korean market was made possible thanks to consistent efforts undertaken jointly by the European Commission and EU member states, the commission said.
“The removal of the trade restrictions imposed in 2001 in reaction to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak is a sign of well-deserved trust in the EU's comprehensive, multi-layered and very efficient food safety and animal health control system. The commission will continue to work closely with the Korean authorities to secure market access for the remaining member states that are still awaiting export approval for beef and beef products,” it added.
The European Commission relayed that during a Sept. 4 meeting on sanitary and phytosanitary issues, Korean authorities provided assurances that the pending applications from EU member states (other than Denmark and the Netherlands) would be processed in due time.
The EU and Korea have been linked by a trade agreement since 2011. The European Commission said it looks forward to ensuring that both parties are able to realize the full potential of this agreement.
“The EU-Korea trade agreement has helped intensify exchanges, resolve numerous trade impediments on both sides and increase bilateral agri-food trade by 10% per year. Now that the sanitary restrictions on Danish and Dutch beef are lifted, producers from those countries will finally be able to enjoy the tariff reductions available under the agreement,” the commission said.