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EU Eases Restriction on Food Imports from China

The European Union has ended its 20-month suspension of animal and meat imports from China. Franz Jessen, deputy head of the European Commission delegation to China, made the announcement at the EU Embassy in Beijing on Monday.


The ban covered a wide array of products, including shrimp, farmed fish, honey, royal jelly and rabbit meat.


In January 2002, the EU banned the imports for safety reasons, particularly because of the presence of residues of veterinary medicines in food and animal feed from China. The imports affected were worth about 400 million euros, said Jessen.


During the past two years, the EU has monitored China's improvements in food production and security while Chinese enterprises have learned more about the standards and requirements of the EU. The results of inspections by EU member states had previously led the commission to relax restrictions on several products, including casings, sea-caught fish and crayfish.


China has made remarkable progress in controlling and monitoring the residues on food products, and the commission is now satisfied that it can safely ease import restrictions, Jessen stated.


The Customs Bureau reports that total China-EU trade in the first eight months of this year hit US$111.6 billion, up 36.6 percent year-on-year. China's exports were valued at US$65.5 billion and imports at US$46.2 billion, up 39.0 percent and 33.4 percent, respectively.


On May 1, 2004, the EU expanded its member countries from 15 to 25, thus becoming China's largest trade partner and fourth largest investor. China is the second biggest trade partner of the EU.


(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2004)

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