Import of poultry from EU states is based on commercial agreements concluded between the European Community and individual third countries. Such agreements respect both EU regulations and a number of requirements applicable in such third countries. Institutions responsible for establishing applicable principles and requirements include, among others: at the EU level – the European Commission, at individual EU state level – veterinary services, Ministries of Health, Ministries of Agriculture, Ministries of Trade and Ministries of International Cooperation. Such agreements contain a set of common principles of cooperation with EU states, taking into account specific legislation of the individual third countries.
In case of food import from an EU member state you should check on the websites of veterinary authorities from that country whether import of a given product is regulated by bilateral agreements concluded between the authorities in the importer’s and in the exporter’s country.
General principles for entities importing poultry from EU states:
- All poultry products intended for the EU market and exported outside the EU have to be produced in accordance with mandatory EU laws to confirm high safety and hygiene standards, to meet quality requirements and to protect animal welfare and the environment. It is necessary to obtain a veterinary export certificate when exporting food outside the EU. The certificates are inspected by appointed authorities in the importer’s country to issue a licence for distribution of the product.
- Only entities with export rights can export poultry meat from EU states to third countries. They are subjected to constant supervision by veterinary services in the given EU state and to regular audits performed by EU control bodies (DG SANTE experts) and by competent bodies located in the country importing poultry from the EU.
- Before establishing cooperation with a meat producer located in the EU, the importer should familiarise him/herself with detailed regulations, legal requirements and customs legislation applicable to importing poultry to the target country. Such information is publicly accessible and updated on an ongoing basis on the website of the European Commission in the section dedicated to trade cooperation (link to the website: madb.europa.eu). Visitors of the website can access detailed information relating to, among others, general terms of cooperation and trade agreements, food sector and meat sector, labelling, customs clearance, duty and obligatory certificates.
- Detailed information on the basic principles of poultry export from the EU to third countries, including: lists of plants approved for export to a given country, documents which need to accompany shipments such as health certificate templates, as well as agri-food regulations and requirements applicable to a given market are also available on websites of veterinary services from individual EU states. Such documents constitute the basis for establishing trade cooperation between a EU-based producer and a meat importer.
- Export of food products from EU states, including poultry products, can be subject to customs duties, whose amount is regulated by applicable laws and may change as a result of economic agreements.
- Exporters from EU countries have an obligation to certify compliance of their products with third-country laws in the scope of: product standards, hygiene and safety of production, standards applicable to production plants. Moreover, another means of confirming safety and quality of exported products are health certificates issued for products by veterinary services from the given EU state.
- Products exported from EU states are subjected to in-depth customs inspections, including supervision over production chains and consistency with the labels The scope of control is established on the basis of the laws in place in the given importing country.
- In case of certain infectious diseases found in animals as well as other threats which may have a negative effect on the quality of food or on the health of consumers in the country importing European poultry, the third country can introduce a temporary or absolute import ban for the given food production sector.
Terms of import of poultry meat to China:
- Poultry can only be imported from exporters registered with the competent authority responsible for the quality of food imported to China (previously AQSIQ – from March 2018 AQSIQ has fused with a newly-established body – SMRA ). Moreover, products can originate only from plants approved by the Chinese CNCA authority and entered into registries kept by the authority. Veterinary authorities in the exporting country also need to confirm compliance of the production plant and the product with relevant sanitary, veterinary and quality requirements and confirm that products come from areas free from any animal infectious disease outbreaks.
- The exporter has an obligation to present details of the production process, including permits for the use of certain food additives.
- Animal and animal product shipments are subjected to in-depth customs inspections, including inspections of mandatory veterinary certificates for products of animal origin. Currently there is no universal health certificate template for poultry applicable to EU-China export. Individual member states have created such certificates independently. There may also be a requirement to present product analysis reports for products from that sector.
- Imported food products, including meat products, are inspected in terms of compliance with Chinese quality and safety standards by a special committee and can only be marketed once a relevant licence has been obtained.
- Food importers have an obligation to keep precise records of import and sale of products, including details of the European exporter. The abovementioned documents need to be kept for the period of at least six months from expiry of the product.
- All food products imported to China, which are not repacked in China, need to be labelled in Chinese in accordance with relevant Chinese legal provisions.
Terms of import of poultry meat to Hong Kong:
- In case of establishing trade cooperation with Hong Kong, which is exempt from the majority of customs duties, it is important to comply with time limits applicable in Hong Kong and with a range of electronic and paper registration procedures for customs clearance.
- Products of animal origin imported to Hong Kong need to comply with a number of veterinary and customs requirements, established by competent bodies. Even though Hong Kong does not apply tariff barriers to most products, it is important to check current information on duty imposed on imported products in advance.
- Poultry importers have an obligation to register and to obtain an import licence from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in Hong Kong.
- In Hong Kong there is no central body responsible for food norms and standards. Most principles applicable to that market are international law provisions. Before commencing trade cooperation you should familiarise yourself with applicable requirements, as in some cases individual quality standards are applied in Hong Kong.
- One of the basic conditions of obtaining a permit for the sale of food products is to demonstrate that the given product meets specific conditions in terms of health, lack of additives and strict packing requirements. All poultry shipments need to be accompanied with a veterinary health certificate through which the veterinary authorities from the exporting country confirm compliance with all requirements set out in the certificate. Similarly to China, there is no universal health certificate for poultry applicable to EU-HK export. Individual member states have created such certificates independently. The authorities have the right to perform random meat composition and quality inspections of products imported to Hong Kong.
Terms of import of poultry meat to Vietnam:
- Both exported products and production plants need to comply with a number of requirements, such as sanitary and hygiene standards, to confirm that the food is produced in safe conditions.
- Food products of animal origin can only be imported from EU plants which have been registered and entered into registries kept by the relevant Department (NAFIQAD) of the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
- Customs declarations for food shipments need to be submitted at least 30 days in advance. Before submitting a declaration you should familiarise yourself with applicable requirements, because in case of some products it is also required to provide other documents, such as invoices, certificates of origin, transport permits or permits issued by relevant bodies.
- Imported products of animal origin need to be accompanied with veterinary health certificates, which contain detailed data on the shipment and transport, provided by the exporter, as well as a declaration by an official veterinarian from the exporting country confirming lack of certain infectious diseases and high quality of the product in terms of health. Similarly to the countries described above, there is no universal health certificate for poultry applicable to EU-Vietnam export. Individual member states have created such certificates independently.
- All goods imported to Vietnam can be subjected to inspections before they are approved for marketing in Vietnam – the scope of such inspections may cover accompanying documents, shipped products and collecting samples for analysis. In case of poultry, Vietnamese authorities may request importers to provide additional documents: a certificate confirming product standard, plant hygiene and safety inspection certificate, food safety and hygiene standard certificate and a list of standards in place at the plant.
An important document regulating trade cooperation with Vietnam is the free trade agreement (FTA) signed by the European Union and Vietnam at the end of 2015. More liberal trade regulations, among others removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers, will certainly help significantly increase import of products such as poultry. The EVFTA agreement came into force in 2018 and within 10 years from that date trade regulations will be made more liberal with regard to 99% of goods and services, including poultry.
Terms of poultry import to United Arab Emirates:
- According to data published on the website of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, import of poultry meat from all plants approved for trading on the EU market by competent veterinary authorities is permitted in the UAE.
- Food products, including poultry, can be registered electronically through the website of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE). The majority of import processes relating to UAE import can be completed electronically.
- Shipments of products of animal origin are subject to veterinary inspections at the customs office and must be accompanied with relevant health certificates and documents, including halal certificates.
- Foreign producers exporting meat products to UAE need to demonstrate that the plant is supervised and approved in accordance with Islamic halal principles by a religious organisation accredited by UAE authorities.
- Licensing data on all importers as well as domestic companies, authorised representatives and warehouses are available from a relevant UAE electronic system.
- Transport of goods originating from or produced in cooperation with Israel is strictly prohibited.