|Customers shop for imported beef at Big C Thang Long Supermarket in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam is reviewing the possibility of opening of its market to French beef, which was banned from the country for 16 years because of mad cow disease.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to reconsider the ban in line with Viet Nam's regulations on beef imports.
He has also required the ministry to co-operate closely with French offices and enterprises in solving technical troubles and creating favourable conditions for importing French beef to Viet Nam in the future.
On February 24, 1998, the MARD issued a temporary ban on French beef imports following the warning of the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding mad cow disease and Viet Nam's veterinary and quarantine regulations.
France was one of nine countries whose cattle were afflicted with the disease. But in 2008, the WHO acknowledged that France had controlled the spread of the disease. Since then, France has exported its beef to the European Union, United States, Brazil and New Zealand. It has also exported its beef to ASEAN countries such as Singapore and Thailand, as well as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
In 2011, France proposed the abolition of the ban to Viet Nam. The Viet Nam Livestock Association (VNLA) has so far refrained from making any comment on the proposal.
Nguyen Dang Vang, VNLA chairman, said Viet Nam imported 3,000 cows from Australia in 2012 but increased this to 70,000 in 2013 and 72,000 in the first half of this year.
Viet Nam is expected to import a total of 150,000 cows this year, Vang added. The country is the second largest importer of Australian cow after Indonesia due to the high demand in the domestic market and the low five-per cent import tax for cows, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade. — VNS