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EU Urged to Lift Ban on Seafood
The China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Association Monday urged the European Union to drop its January 30 ban on imports of Chinese seafood.

The association said that Chinese seafood products can be trusted and said the EU ban was unfair.

The EU Standing Veterinary Committee suspended the import of products of animal origin from China in late January, asserting that potentially risky chloramphenicol residues were found in samples of shrimps and prawns imported from China.

But the Chinese association said that, after conducting meticulous investigations on Chinese seafood companies, it concluded that China's seafood products are "well worth the confidence of EU consumers.''

Association President Zhang Mingyu said in a statement Monday: "Based on the information the association has collected, the quality of seafood products for export from the overwhelming majority of EU-certified enterprises in China is fully up to the relevant EU standards.''

The statement was hammered out after discussions with 94 key seafood processors and exporters in China. It urged the EU to review its 2002/69/EC decision and remove the restrictive measures on Chinese seafood products as soon as possible.

No EU-certified enterprise in China has ever before been put on the EU alert system for quality reasons, Zhang said.

"We believe that it is unfair and not based on scientific evidence for the commission to prohibit the import of seafood products,'' Zhang said. "It is also against the World Trade Organization rules regarding fair trade.''

The volume of Chinese exports affected by the EU ban could amount to several hundred million US dollars, according to sources with Zhang's association.

The price of seafood products in EU member states has also been driven up by the ban, according to earlier reports from China News Agency.

Zhang said: "To protect and promote the sound and stable growth of the China-EU fisheries trade, the EU should lift the restrictions and resume the import of seafood products from China as quickly as possible.''

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and EU representatives in Beijing were not immediately available Monday for comment on the association's action.

But Ma Weijun, an official with the ministry's Fisheries Bureau, said work was still under way with the EU to resolve the trade row.

Last Tuesday, the Netherlands destroyed containers of Chinese animal products stored in Rotterdam on the grounds that the products breached EU import regulations.

On Friday, China declared that it had banned the import of animal-related food products from the Netherlands after spotting chloramphenicol residue in salted pork intestine casings for sausages imported from the Netherlands on March 28.

( China Daily April 23, 2002)

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