New measures for countries importing pork into China are not trade protectionism but merely providing assurances that the H1N1 virus will not be brought into China through food, said a top official.
Yu Taiwei, director of the food import and export bureau under the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), explained that pork imports must be proven not to contain any H1N1 virus.
"China attaches great importance to stopping the spread of the H1N1 virus," said Yu. "We don't want any virus to spread in our country, and we don't want any virus to come into our country through food."
Last Friday, AQSIQ asked the five countries that export pork to China to obtain a certificate proving the pork doesn't contain the H1N1 virus.
The five countries are Canada, Italy, France, Denmark and Spain. Four of them are EU members.
Mme Vassiliou, the EU commissioner for health, asked that AQSIQ cancel the new procedure, as it will add costs for enterprises that export pork to China.
"Earlier in May, a joint declaration by the WHO (World Health Organization) and FAO (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization) already said that H1N1 virus is not transmissible by consumption of pork, and we don't think it's reasonable to add restrictions on pork imports," Vassiliou said.