Monday, June 16, 2008

Five EU countries to appeal ban on Malaysian seafood

Monday June 16, 2008 MYT 3:54:45 PM

Five EU countries to appeal ban on Malaysian seafood


PUTRAJAYA: Five European Union countries have pledged to appeal on Malaysia’s behalf for the continuation of its seafood and live fish imports into the continent.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said this was because there had never been complaints of bacterial contamination in Malaysia’s seafood and live fish products among EU members.

“Although some of our companies have yet to comply with the standards recently set by EU, there has never been any such complaint or negative report.

“So, we have a good record. These five countries are calling for our imports not to be banned,” he told reporters Monday after chairing a meeting with representatives from the local seafood and live fish companies at his ministry here.

Liow said his ministry officers as well as those from the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry were currently meeting with the EU officials in Brussels to discuss the matter.

“The EU steering committee will only decide on our appeal on Wednesday,” he said. However, he did not name the countries involved.

On Sunday, Liow had said the Government was asking for a six-month grace period to adhere to the body’s regulations on seafood and live fish imports as local fishermen needed time to outfit their boats with the necessary equipment and facilities.

An EU ban is expected to affect transporters and operators of food processing plants and ice factories besides the fishermen.

“We only received a letter from the EU on the possibility of such a ban on June 16,” Liow pointed out.

Earlier, when accepting the contribution of six ambulances from the Faber Group Berhad, Liow said only 1,343 of the 1,672 vehicles owned by the ministry were still operating.

“The rest have been written off because they are considered beyond economic repair. The ministry realises we have to further improve our ambulance service. So, we are in the process of purchasing another 100 units worth some RM30mil,” he said, adding that one vehicle cost some RM385,000.

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