On the 24 and 25 March, the AETS Thailand team organised a seminar in Bangkok on the “import of plant and plant products into Thailand” under the scope of its ongoing European Commission-funded project, “EU Asia Cooperation on (phyto-) sanitary (SPS) and food safety regulation” (EU Asia Cooperation on SPS). The project aims to improve the conditions for the EU food and drink industry to access the markets of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
Global trade of food and feed products is on the rise, however sanitary and phytosanitary issues are some of the most important trade barriers – an outbreak of animal disease anywhere in the EU can have almost immediate repercussions with exports being cancelled overnight. In order to ensure the continuity of such trade it is of utmost importance that safety measures, in terms of animal and plant disease control, be considered and applied.
The EU has proven to have policy instruments and capacities in place, and if trade partners are confident in the EU’s capacity to manage occasional food safety risks, then outbreaks and other issues would wreak less havoc on EU trade. The project does not aim to down-play the sanitary risks of trade, but to demonstrate that these should be addressed via continuous dialogue and close administrative relations.
The new EU plant health regulation – which entered into force on 14 December 2019 – aims to modernise the plant health regime, introducing more effective measures for the protection of the Union's territory and plants. It also aims to ensure safe trade, as well as to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the health of our crops and forests. This regulation set part of the scope for the event organised by AETS.
The event was the first of its kind organised for the abovementioned contract, which saw the entirety of its 2020 events cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Participants included members of the Thai competent authorities, members of the Delegation of the European Union to Thailand and industry representatives. Keynote speakers from EU Member States, including members of DG SANTE, participated via conference call. Two sessions with informative presentations on the topic of sanitary and phytosanitary cooperation – plant health requirements, food safety requirements for plant products and quality standards – were held. The first day of the event focused on the Thai market, its opportunities and market access conditions, while the second day was dedicated to the EU regulatory framework.
The event was successful and set the precedent for the numerous events which are envisaged under the scope of the contract, which is expected to run until end of 2022.
Project website: https://eu-asia-sps.com/