Removing barriers: Dutch veal regains access to the Chinese market
Fair access to third country markets is essential for us. With Europe as our most important sales market, gaining access to export markets is essential for the growth of our company. Today, we export veal, as well as feed products, to more than 60 countries around the world guaranteeing the highest quality and safety of our products. However, in 2000, Chinese authorities had introduced an import ban on veal and beef products originating in the EU, - closing all access for our company to a very promising market - until today.Marijke Everts
Director Corporate Affairs at VanDrie Group
The manager: Marijke Everts, Director Corporate Affairs at VanDrie Group
Built on family traditions, the VanDrie Group is a Dutch-owned group specialised in veal. Since the early 1960s, when Jan van Drie purchased his first new-born calf for fattening, the Group has now grown to become the largest integrated veal producer in the world and the largest producer of calf milk, encompassing more than 25 companies.
Fair access to third country markets is essential for us
“With Europe as our most important sales market, gaining access to export markets is essential for the growth of our company. Today, we export veal, as well as feed products, to more than 60 countries around the world guaranteeing the highest quality and safety of our products. However, in 2000, Chinese authorities had introduced an import ban on veal and beef products originating in the EU, -closing all access for our company to a very promising market- until today.”
Market access issue: import ban on veal and beef products due to BSE
“China has kept in place an import ban on veal and beef from the EU introduced in 2000, referring to a risk of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). However, this longstanding BSE-related trade restriction is now unjustified and has created a significant and unfair obstacle to EU trade with China by preventing companies in the Netherlands from fairly accessing this new market where Western cuisine is increasingly popular.”
EU’s Market Access Partnership obtains the removal of the import ban
“It would have been impossible for our company to tackle this issue alone. That is why we joined efforts with the European Commission and the Dutch Government -working hand in hand with other interested Member States and companies- under the EU’s Market Access Partnership. Bringing the issue to the attention of the Commission has put us in a stronger position as the EU started its barrier removal strategy immediately and continued raising the issue as long as it was necessary, using all possible fora to convey our concerns to the Chinese authorities. Among numerous demarches, we even accompanied Mr Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and an EU trade delegation to China to express our concerns on the imposition of such a ban in view of internationally accepted safe trade conditions of European veal and beef products. Our joint efforts eventually led to our company being granted access to the Chinese market on October 2018.”
Generating concrete benefits for our company
“Our Group is already benefitting from the market access granted to the Netherlands. VanDrie is the first European veal producer to receive approval to export veal products to China. Our products can be find in supermarkets in various cities such as Beijing or Shanghai. We are already developing a strategy to profile ourselves as a Dutch quality product that has passed all checks and is guaranteed to be safe in China, and we dare say that we expect to sell EUR 15 million in veal in China over the next three years.”
Translate this important success into further opening
The EU welcomes the fact that China lifted restrictions on imports originating in the Netherlands and Ireland in 2018. Due to the complexity of the issue, resolving this barrier took time – which however also demonstrates the EU's perseverance in defending the interests of its exporters as long as it takes.
The EU will now continue to pursue all efforts to ensure that our market access work is now delivering also for other EU Member States that have also applied to export veal and beef products, and whose equally high level of food safety has been internationally recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
This success is an essential signal that our joint work under the Market Access Partnership, together with the EU Delegation to China, Member States and businesses, is key to further facilitate trade for veal and beef products with China in the near future - with a strong determination to make sure that VanDrie Group is the first of many EU companies and their workers who will reap the benefits of this opening.