China has on 3 June confirmed that it is lifting its import ban introduced four years ago on bovine and ovine genetic material from Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom due to Schmallenberg virus.
The decision – preceded by joint efforts of various Commission services and EU Member States – was announced by the Chinese Minister of Agriculture Minister HAN Changfu during the visit of EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan to China this week. The Commission welcomes the lifting of this ban that should now quickly allow for real trade to start taking place and looks forward to seeing China open its market for these safe products from the rest of the EU in the near future.
In May 2012, China introduced a ban on imports from several EU countries of bovine semen, bovine embryo, ovine semen and ovine embryo produced after 1 June 2011, referring to an alleged risk of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) which can cause birth defects and stillbirths in cattle, sheep, and goats. This measure went beyond the international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), which considers that the virus does not meet OIE requirements for setting an international standard and that trade measures for this disease are, therefore, not required.