PARIS, December 13 (Reuters) – France on Monday signed an agreement with the main export customer, China, to ensure the continuation of the pork trade even in the event of an outbreak of African swine fever ( ASF), potentially providing a model for European countries at risk of swine disease. .

General meat trade bans by China and other importing countries due to outbreaks of African swine fever and other diseases, such as bird flu, have regularly disrupted exports from livestock export areas. in Europe and the Americas.

China is the largest pork export market for France and the European Union, with Chinese demand increasing over the past two years as ASF devastated its national herd.

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ASF, fatal to pigs but harmless to humans, is not present in France but has spread across Europe and cases in wild boars have been found in Belgium, near the French border, it three years ago.

Monday’s deal, which takes effect immediately, means China would allow pork exports from unaffected areas of France even if ASF occurs elsewhere in the country, France’s economy and government ministries said. ‘Agriculture in a press release.

“This agreement is the first of its kind to be signed by China in favor of a country of the European Union. It is therefore a model and herald of future agreements with other sectors and countries”, declared the minister. French Agriculture, Julien Denormandie.

China’s finance ministry said in a separate statement that it welcomed “the entry into force of the regional African swine fever management agreement.”

The agreement was signed during an ordinary session of Franco-Chinese economic negotiations.

Germany, a bigger supplier of pork than France, is in talks with Beijing on a regional approach. It has been excluded from the Chinese market due to ASF cases in eastern Germany since last year. Read more

While France’s agreement is encouraging, Germany is in a different situation given the presence of ASF on its territory, said a spokesperson for the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture. Read more

Bird flu, commonly referred to as bird flu, is another disease for which exporting countries have sought an approach to regionalize China in trade.

The United States has entered into a regionalization agreement covering bird flu as part of its Phase 1 trade agreement with Beijing.

France has detected outbreaks of bird flu in recent weeks and data from the agricultural agency FranceAgriMer has shown that its poultry exports to China have been banned since late last year, when a previous wave of bird flu had begun. Read more

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Reporting by Gus Trompiz, Leigh Thomas and Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris, Dominique Patton in Beijing and Michael Hogan in Hamburg; edited by Sybille de La Hamaide and Barbara Lewis

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