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EU ban could be lifted by July

KARACHI - The government has hinted seafood processors that were de-listed by the European Union on quality concerns, could resume exports to Europe by July 2007.

Informed sources said a recent meeting between the exporters and senior officials of the Federal Ministry Of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) concluded on assurance from the authorities to resume export by July 2007 following a consultation with the EU authorities.

“Actually, all the processing factories have declared themselves prepared to face another inspection from experts of the EU bloc after removing deficiencies,” said a source privy to the talks between the two sides.

“As 11 out of 12 have informed the authorities about their restructuring plan, the government believes it should ask the EU to consider their de-listing,” sources said adding the EU has mandated the MFD (Marine Fisheries Department) to examine the factories and come up with final recommendations.”

He said the federally-administered MFD had a mandate from the EU to check revised quality measures adopted by the processing factories and provincial institutions, which would soon coordinate with the concerned bodies before finally moving to the EU.

“There is a final meeting expected between the exporters and the MFD in near future,” the source said and added that this meeting would provide MFD with a clear picture to present before EU team.”

The government in March 2007 finally received a verdict from the EU, which informed Pakistani fishery authorities about de-listing of all the processing factories on quality grounds, putting ban on more than $80 million country’s exports.

The EU decision came after more than a month its team visited Karachi fish harbour and other fisheries installations in January 2007 to check seafood quality being to its member countries. In February 2005 the EU team wrapped up its visit on warnings that Pakistani authorities should maintain seafood quality as per the set standards otherwise they would lose their largest seafood export market.

Source: The News-International

the Fish Site Editor

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