EU,US to resume bilateral trade in molluscan shellfish ending 10-year hiatus

EU/U.S – The United States (U.S) and the European Union (EU) producers will be able to resume bilateral trade in molluscan shellfish after the two regions concluded negotiations to permit the resumption of the trade.

For the first time since 2011, U.S. producers, beginning in the states of Massachusetts and Washington, will be eligible to export live, raw and processed bivalve molluscan shellfish to the EU, including oysters, clams, mussels, and whole or roe-on scallops. 

EU producers in Spain and the Netherlands will also be eligible to export live and raw bivalve molluscan shellfish to the United States.

“Today’s announcement represents a positive step in the trade relationship between the United States and EU. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to both addressing trade barriers and building new opportunities for U.S. producers, and we will continue to work to strengthen the U.S.-EU trade relationship,” said Ambassador Tai. 

As the final administrative step after the equivalence determination was announced in September 2020, , the European Commission has adopted and published the export health certificate that will be issued by the Seafood Inspection Program at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that must accompany shellfish exported to the European Union.

“This announcement demonstrates an exciting opportunity for U.S. seafood producers to deliver world-leading products to consumers in the EU and furthers the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s mission to provide U.S. stakeholders opportunities to better compete in the global marketplace,” said Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, USDA.

NOAA Seafood Inspection Program

The NOAA Seafood Inspection Program is the competent authority within the U.S. Government for issuance of certain certificates required for export of fish and fishery products to the European Union (EU). 

The program offers four documents required for export to the European Union including the EU export health certificate, Export Health – EU Bivalve Mollusc, Echinoderms, Tunicates, and Marine Gastropods, and Legal Harvest US document for fisheries products harvested in the United States, to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing; and,

“The resumption of U.S.- EU trade in key shellfish products like oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops highlights the competitiveness of our fishery resources."

Gina M. Raimondo,U.S. Secretary of Commerce Tweet

It also provides the EU “Annex IV” Legal Harvest document for products harvested in a country other than the United States but being exported through the United States to the EU, to prevent, deter, and eliminate illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Under EU regulations, an export health certificate is required as well as one of the two Legal Harvest documents. 

The certificate will become effective on February 27, 2022, which is the date that bilateral trade between the United States and the EU can begin.

Commenting on the same, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, noted that U.S. seafood producers, including many family-owned businesses, are internationally recognized for exporting safe, sustainable and wholesome seafood—a valuable commodity in the global market

“The resumption of U.S.- EU trade in key shellfish products like oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops highlights the competitiveness of our fishery resources,” she said.

In 2020, the United States was one of the world’s largest seafood exporters, with global sales of seafood products valued at US$4.5 billion, as stated by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) . 2021 exports of U.S. seafood products to the EU exceeded US$900 million.

Eligible U.S. exporters may find additional information about the certificate on NOAA’s.

On February 27, 2022, U.S. establishments interested in importing bivalve molluscan shellfish from the Netherlands or Spain may refer to the Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List for an updated listing of certified shippers and growing areas.

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