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Food Safety
News article5 September 2022Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety

Commission reopens trade in European pork and poultry to the Republic of Korea

As a result of intense high-level engagement between the European Commission and the Republic of Korea, EU countries can, as of today, 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 recognises 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.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: "Today's decision by the Republic of Korea to remove restrictions on European exports of pork and poultry should increase export opportunities for a sector that is facing severe constraints. We are delivering on our commitment to support the EU agricultural sector while ensuring that Korean consumers can benefit from high-quality EU products. We welcome the productive cooperation with our Korean partners, with whom we have worked closely on trade-related issues since our trade agreement in 2011. We hope to build on this success to develop similar constructive cooperation with other trading partners on the recognition of the EU regionalisation system.”

Commissioner in charge of Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: "Safeguarding animal health is a key priority for us. In the EU we have put stringent and effective measures against African swine fever and avian influenza in place. The reopening of trade between the Republic of Korea and the EU is a success and a recognition of these efforts which will greatly benefit European producers in the currently difficult economic circumstances. We remain firmly committed to fight these animal diseases and to continue to export EU food products that meet the highest standards and guarantees regarding animal health and food safety.”

Today's decision 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; and 14 Member States that 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.

Until now, the Republic of Korea imposed a countrywide ban on imports of pork or poultry from EU Member States affected with African swine fever 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 Member 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 with these diseases.

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Publication date
5 September 2022
Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety