Written Answers. - Pigmeat Imports.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

93 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the extent to which pigmeat or pigmeat products are imported; the country or countries of origin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19499/03]

The Central Statistics Office is responsible for the collection of statistics in relation to imports of meat and meat preparations. The following tables, compiled from data supplied by the CSO, set out the information requested by the Deputy.

In relation to the following tables please note the following: While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, these returns may stand to be adjusted marginally as data is rechecked; in certain cases the record of import may include the re-import of Irish products that were originally the subject of an export from this country; and the information available for imports from EU member states does not differentiate between imports originating in the EU country and those originating from third countries that may already be in free circulation within the Community.

In respect of the year 2002, and up to the end of March 2003, the countries involved and the total quantities of pigmeat and pigmeat products imported in each case are as follows:

Total Imports of Pigmeat and Pigmeat products from EU countries

Country of Origin2002/03 (to end March)

Tonnes

Austria

2,929

Belgium

80,3256

Germany

6,4082,822

Denmark

5,0846,63

Spain

1,626

Finland

129

France

4,504928

Great Britain

12,6594,121

Greece

318

Ireland

5,530966

Italy

455,196

Luxemburg

3

Netherlands

8,9111,801

Portugal

10

Sweden

24

Northern Ireland

3,085834

Total

47,64412,660

Total Imports of Pigmeat and Pigmeat products from non-EU countries

Country of Origin2002/03 (to end March)

Tonnes

Argentina

5

Ivory Coast

4

China

0

Hong Kong

0

Hungary

0

Japan

50

Lithuania

74

Country of Origin2002/03 (to end March)

Tonnes

Malta

0

Morocco

0

USA

52

Vietnam

00

Totals

6,854

Note: "0" means imports of less than 1 tonne
Under the Single Market there is free circulation of goods within the EU but there are uniform EU wide controls on the production and trade in meat and meat products such as pigmeat. Under Community law it is a requirement that the pigmeat has been sourced from an approved establishment, whether that is a slaughterhouse, cutting plant or cold store. It must also be accompanied to its destination by a commercial document or health certificate which bears the identity of the establishment from which it has been despatched.
On a more general point, it should be noted that under EU harmonised rules, imports into the EU from third countries must have been sourced in premises and in countries which are approved by the European Commission and which are subject to veterinary audits by the EU's food and veterinary office. In addition, such imports are subject to checks on import as laid down in harmonised rules prescribed at European level, and must be accompanied by veterinary health certification from the authorities in the country of export.