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NEWS UPDATES 16 May 2009

EU reopens seafood market to Malaysia

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Malaysia will resume its frozen seafood exports to the European Union, 11 months after they were suspended for failing to meet health standards, AFP quoted an EU official as saying.

The approval came after an EU inspection team gave the clearance during a visit in March, the European Commission ambassador to Malaysia Vincent Piket said in a statement late Thursday.

Malaysia had voluntarily halted exports of its multi-billion-dollar frozen seafood business to the EU in June last year to avoid an outright ban.

"We are pleased to announce that Malaysia can resume exports of fisheries products to the EU following a positive inspection conducted by the food and veterinary office, the body responsible for food safety in the EU," Piket said.

"This is the first step to resume the exports of fisheries products which leads to the full resumption of Malaysian export of fisheries products to the EU," he added.

Piket said the EU worked closely with Malaysian authorities to implement measures to address food safety management and hygiene issues in order to allow trade to resume.

With the EU's decision, which was effective from May 14, six out of 46 Malaysian processing companies that were suspended from exports last year have resumed exports, Malaysian Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

"We hope to clear the other 40 companies by early next year because the EU is the largest importer of Malaysian seafood," he was quoted as saying in the Star newspaper Friday.

Malaysia's frozen seafood exports to the EU are worth about 600 million ringgit (169 million US dollars) annually, according to Malaysian authorities.






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