Julia Mersing / 17 January 2014

Food export: some facts to consider

Exports are one of the main economic assets of a country but, in many cases, the paperwork involved can be a real obstacle, which not everyone is able to overcome. The more developed the country is, the more difficult it becomes to fulfil all the entry requirements for the product, so before embarking on this adventure we have to be very clear which the legislation we must follow.

Export requirements for the EU
The harmonization of food legislation in countries belonging to the European Union has significantly simplified intra-EU exportation. Furthermore, the European Commission has tools to help exporters, such as the Export Helpdesk, which gives valuable information on this subject.
But the main question is: what rules should we consider if we want to export to the European Union? Here are some of them:
1. Storage, Storage and Transport: Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs.
2. Official Control: Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules.
3. Labelling: Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004
4. Additives: Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives.
The requirements for registration of a food business in a member country of the EU will depend on the legislation of each of each country. In Spain, for example, AESAN provides all the information required for registration of food businesses in the necessary Registry and the appropriate fees.
Although standards exist that allow us to know roughly what the exportation requirements are, it is necessary to consider the possibility that a particular product is regulated by specific rules, either at European or national level, so it may require different rules on labelling, additives, composition, etc.
Given the difficulty of the exportation of agricultural products, it is also important that the paperwork doesn’t become another obstacle. What action has been taken to avoid it?
Trade facilitation measures: the Bali Package
According to various studies, it is estimated that any export operation in the countries of the WTO involves the presentation 40 different documents, 200 pieces of data and requires the involvement of 20 to 30 different people.
The last Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Bali (Indonesia), made one of its objectives the elimination of numerous trade barriers and, fortunately, there have been enormously beneficial measures applied to the multilateral trading system.
The Director General of the WTO has successfully negotiated a compromise proposal that has been presented to all members for approval by consensus. This package deals with three areas of trade issues:
• Agreement on Trade Facilitation,
• Several proposals on the trade in agricultural goods and
• developing a chapter dedicated to the least developed countries.
The new rules also will reduce costs, through lower delay times and the simplification of bureaucratic requirements. The agreement contains provisions to expedite the clearance of perishable goods, limit unjustified inspections and foster cooperation between custom goods?
Taking everything into account, although the export of food products can be a complex task, we are proceeding in the right direction to facilitate this profitable endeavour.

Julia Mersing (4 articles)

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Julia Mersing

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