As the world continues along its global model, trade in the way of food and feed continues to increase. Asian countries, such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam represent large trade partners for the European Union, with China alone representing over € 10bn as the second largest and the fastest growing market for the EU.

Given the importance of the trading of food and feed, it is important to ensure that this trade is, as far as possible, facilitated and not hindered by any barriers which may cause a reduction in, or altogether impede, trade. When assessing the most common barriers to trade, we find that sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues rank highly on the list, with issues such as animal disease or plant pest outbreaks causing concern to states and individuals.

In order to continue to promote a fruitful trade relationship with the abovementioned Asian countries, AETS has been entrusted, by the European Commission, the contract entitled “EU-Asia Cooperation on SPS”. Funded by the Foreign Policy Instrument, Regional Team for Asia-Pacific, at the European Union Delegation in Bangkok, this contract aims to improve the conditions for the EU food and drink industry to access markets of the abovementioned countries by seeking to improve the mutual understanding of sanitary and phytosanitary control measures in place. The contract will be implemented in close coordination with the European Commission’s DG TRADE, DG AGRI and DG SANTE and will consist in two major focal points:

  1. Organising SPS regulatory dialogue seminars and visits between the EU and the competent authorities of the targeted countries. These events will take the form of an open dialogue between concerned authorities and the representatives of the industry. Additionally, the seminars and regulatory visits will promote links, relationships and trust between officials which should last long beyond the duration of the events and should have a resounding positive impact on the future of trade for the EU and the targeted countries.
  2. Preparing guides for the European industry to assist in its understanding of the import regulations of said countries. The guides will be built through a demand-driven approach, which will closely involve the industry.

The contract was signed in October 2019 for a duration of 36 months and it will mobilise AETS resources based in Bangkok, Delhi, Jakarta, Brussels and the HQ in Lons.

AETS is the lead company and Opera is AETS’ partner responsible for activities in China and Japan.