EU Ag Commissioner praises China’s pork bans


Xinhua (China)
May 22, 2009

BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) — The Europe Union’s Agricultural Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel Friday praised China for its strong and efficient precautionary measures taken against A/H1N1 flu, specifically with regard to different bans on pork from countries hardest hit by the virus.

"I was happy to see clearly that decisions for any ban were on scientific basis, therefore European Union was not touched upon by any ban of imports of meat," Boel told reporters at a news briefing in Beijing.

China banned pork from some states in America, Canada and Mexico.

Boel is in China to spearhead a promotional effort to increase joint business opportunities in the agricultural food sector between the EU and China.

At the news briefing, Boel encouraged China to make use of geographic indications (GIs) on products as a way to add value to them. She said China has a huge potential in this area.

According to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), a GI is a name or sign used on certain products to indicate where it is from.

The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin.

"We have 800 different GIs in the food sector and quite a lot more in wine and spirits," said Boel, who used every opportunity to sell this idea.

"You have some excellent products that would perfectly fit into this idea," she said, citing China’s Long Jing Tea as an example. Long Jing is a famous variety of green tea from Southern China’s Zhejiang Province.

"I have tasted the most delicious tea here, which is totally different from the tea I normally get in Europe." Boel said, "you can teach the Europeans to drink a better quality of tea."

Chinese Agriculture Minister Sun Zhengcai agreed with Boel’s opinions when they met Thursday.

Sun said the Agriculture Ministry paid great attention to the register, management and protection of GIs and has launched relevant projects. He said China was willing to enhance cooperation with the EU in the sector.

This was Boel’s second visit to Beijing since taking office as top EU official in charge of agriculture and rural development in 2004.

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