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Turkey’s new rules on animal-based imports may have little effect locally

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Frozen meat at a wholesaler centre in the capital’s Sen Sok district in July last year. Hong Menea

Turkey’s new rules on animal-based imports may have little effect locally

Recent restrictions imposed by Turkey on the import of live animals and animal products will have little effect on Cambodian exports, senior officials have said.

The Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has issued an associated list of restricted import items, prepared in accordance with World Organisation for Animal Health recommendations as well as the pertinent health regulation frameworks, the Ministry of Commerce told Cambodian producers and exporters in a June 20 notice.

Citing the Turkish agriculture ministry, commerce ministry spokesman Penn Sovicheat confirmed to The Post that the items would not be outright banned, but merely subject to restrictions and conditions laid out to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as foot and mouth disease.

Some of the concerned items are wildlife, milk and dairy cream, frozen meats, and products made from the skin, offal, blood or nails of animals, all of which have been linked to foot and mouth disease, he said.

He stressed that Turkey has introduced similar restrictions in the past, which he said are designed to protect the local market and stop diseases from spreading to other countries.

Sovicheat claimed that the Kingdom would only be indirectly affected by the move. “We do not yet have a large trade volume with Turkey, and in Cambodia we don’t export much of these products either,” he said.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon echoed Sovicheat’s comments that Cambodian exports to Turkey would be largely unaffected by the move, pointing out that Cambodia’s meat exports have remained rather trivial over the years, despite the free trade deals signed by the Kingdom.

He noted that exports are subject to international animal transport laws and regulations, and that certification is needed from the exporting country which ensures that consignments present no considerable risk of introducing infectious diseases.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath hailed the commerce ministry notice for its clear communication of the new export conditions, calling for their broad dissemination.

“When exporters fail to take notice of such measures, it could lead to unexportable production,” he cautioned.

According to the commerce ministry, in the first five months of this year, Cambodian exports to Turkey topped $4 million, up by nearly 70 per cent year-on-year, and imports passed $1 million, although they fell more than 14 per cent from the same period last year.

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