EU threatens embargo on Israeli poultry

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Dubai: New EU legislation is threatening to turn back all poultry exports from Israel unless it can devise a more effective method for identifying the origin of produce, according to Israeli media.

At present the Israeli system does not specifically identify produce from occupied East Jerusalem, Golan Heights and the West Bank. Poultry reared in Jewish colonies is packaged and sold as produce of Israel. The EU is insisting that Israel come up with a more effective method to differentiate and explicitly state where such produce originates from.

The EU legislation, which would form a de-facto embargo against all Israeli poultry, would cease the supply of export permits for the Israeli Agriculture Ministry’s Veterinary Services. The permits are a pre-requisite for all poultry produce entering EU markets.

EU officials were keen to stress that any such move would not amount to an economic boycott of Israel, telling Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv Hashavua that the move “in no way amounts to an economic boycott”. Official EU policy does not recognise any of the lands outside of 1967 borders as part of Israel. Thus, such a move would simply align new economic legislation with pre-existing EU policy.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry wouldn’t directly comment on the possible ramifications of the threat, but it did concede that the matter was under discussion. Israeli exports to the EU were worth €13.5 billion (Dh65.09 billion) in 2013, making the EU Israel’s largest trading partner.

Originally published by Gulf News

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