Islamabad: The European Union has decided to allow import of Pakistani fish products as these products were subject to a ban in European Union since 2007.
After a concerted effort by the Ministry of Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Marine Fisheries Department and Pakistan’s Trade Mission in Brussels, European Union has finally agreed to lift the ban from March 12 and two of the Pakistani fishery processing establishments have been allowed to export the fish products to European Union.
The European Commission had decided to recommend to the 27 member states for inclusion of two Pakistani Fisheries establishments in the approved list of third country establishments that are authorised to export fishery products to the EU.
After due process the names of the two fishing establishments have now been duly notified by the EU. It means that any consignment exported from these two approved establishments in Pakistan after 12th March 2013 would be able to enter the EU.
Pakistan’s fishery establishments were delisted by the European Commission EC in 2007 after the EU inspectors found systemic enforcement failure and serious deficiencies in the sanitary quality of the fish.
The EC held that relisting would be done after the relevant stakeholders in Pakistan can demonstrate that effective actions have been implemented to improve the hygiene conditions in the fishery processing establishments.
The Government of Pakistan has been working with the stakeholders to bring in the desired improvements. The laboratory services of MFD have been modernized; MFD microbiology and chemical labs have been internationally accredited; hygiene conditions in fishing vessels, landing & auction sites, fish processing plants have been improved; A large number of fishermen’s boats have been modified.
Immediately before the delisting of Pakistani companies, Pakistan’s export of fish to the Europe amounted to 38.72 million in 2006, which was 23% of Pakistan’s exports of fish to the world. The reopening of fishery exports to the EU would give a great boost to Pakistan’s fishery exports.
The lifting of ban by the EU is a manifestation of deepening relationship between Pakistan and Europe Union. This also demonstrates Pakistan’s willingness to abide by international commitments as well as the capability to meet the stringent international food safety standards.