Islamabad: Pakistan and France possessed huge potential for expanding bilateral trade in multiple areas of agriculture particularly in dairy and livestock sectors.
This was mutually agreed upon between the two sides after Philippe Thiebaud Ambassador of France for Pakistan called on the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFSR) Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan here in Islamabad. Seerat Asghar Secretary NFSR, Malik Zahoor Ahmad DG NAPHIS and other high officials of the ministry were also present in the meeting.
During the cause of meeting Philippe Thiebaud Ambassador of France for Pakistan raised the issue of ban on import of live cattle from France and requested for revisiting the decision.
The federal minster informed that in the wake of 18th amendment federal government cannot take a unilateral decision without consulting provincial governments.
It may be mentioned here that as per SRO (1)/2001 dated 28th June, 2001, Ministry of Commerce imposed ban on import of live animals, meat, tallow and feed ingredients from BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) or Mad Cow infected countries such as UK, Ireland, Canada, France, USA etc.
It is also pertinent to mention here that Pakistan has been historically free from BSE and Pakistan has adopted zero tolerance policy in this regard and banned import of cattle from BSE infected declared countries.
However, Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) recently revised the policy and allowed import of live cattle from countries which have been declared as having ‘Negligible BSE risk’ by World Organization for Animal Health, (OIE) subject to condition that animals from such/those herds shall be allowed for import where no incidence of BSE has been reported for the last eleven years and this fact shall be certified by the concerned Veterinary Authority of the exporting country.
On the other hand, France falls under ‘Controlled BSE risk’ country as per classification by OIE and therefore ban on import of live cattle from France persisted.
Both dignitaries agreed on exploring possibilities for collaboration and strengthen bilateral agricultural trade identifying opportunities and areas for future cooperation. The Federal Minster appreciated the technical support of France to agricultural scientists and farmers in Pakistan.