Technical Regulations for export and import of fishery products
Technical Regulations for export and import of fishery products have been prepared for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar with the technical and financial support of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) under the project TCP/MYA/3401- “Capacity Building to Improve Market Access for Fish and Fishery Products”. The major objective of this Technical Regulation is to improve the accessibility for Fish and Fishery Products of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in the international market by establishing suitable food control systems throughout the food chain, starting from the primary production areas.
The legal basis of this technical regulation is the ‘Myanmar Marine Fisheries Law’ dated 25th April 1990, which empowers the Department of Fisheries (DoF) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to lay down orders, standards, regulations etc relating to fishery sector and to take suitable actions as and when required.
Even though this Technical Regulation has been formulated mainly based on the requirements of European Union, requirements of other major importing countries have also been taken into account while drafting the document. Moreover a ‘holistic food chain approach’ has been taken while preparing the document to ensure that all stake holders of the food chain are brought under the control system to ensure food safety.
Salient Features of the regulation:
There are two sections for the document, namely the export requirement and import requirements. The export requirements have been specified in three Chapters; Chapter 1 covers primary production, Chapter 2 specifies activities other than primary production and Chapter 3 covers the Official control activities. Import requirements have been specified in Chapter 4.
- a) Chapter 1:- Control on the primary production and allied areas have been highlighted in this Chapter, including the specific requirements of hatcheries, farms, feed mills, vessels, landing sites and auction halls, etc, based on the requirement of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 dated 29.04.2004. Some of the requirements of Directive No.2006/88/EC, Directive No.2008/53/EC,OIE’s ‘Aquatic Animal Health Code’ and European Feed Manufacture’s Guide 2009 were also considered while framing the standard.
- b) Chapter 2 & Chapter 3: In Chapter 2, the responsibilities of business operators and in Chapter 3, responsibilities of Competent Authority have been specified mainly as per the requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 and 854/2004 dated 29.04.2004. However the requirements specified in ‘ASEAN Common Principles and Requirements’, ‘National Standard of China’ (GB/T 23871-2009), AVA’s ‘Sale of Food Act’ of July 2002, Technical Regulation of Customs Union (TR CU 021/2011) , Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the Act) of 1938, as amended (21 USC.301-392), Fish & Fisheries Products Hazards and Control Guidance amongst others were also considered while framing the rules.
Further, in order to streamline the export of aquaculture products, minimum requirements have been specified in clause 1.4.3 of Chapter-2, mainly as per the requirements of Council Directives 96/23/EC, 2006/88/EC and 2008/53/EC. The export of live fishes has been specified in clause.1.6 of Chapter 2, taking into account of the requirements of Council Directives 2006/88/EC and 2008/53/EC, FAO’s “Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals” and others.
The parameters for testing of water and ice for EU and non-EU countries have been specified separately in clause 1.5.3. Even though, it is mandatory that water andice of EU approved units are tested as per EC Directive 98/83/EC, different Non-EU countries have different standards for potable water. Therefore, for Non-EU countries, the requirement of ASEAN has been proposed.
The labelling requirements specified in clause1.5.11 are mainly based on Commission Directive No 2000/13, Directive No. 2000/104, ASEAN requirements for labelling and USFDA requirements.
Although (EC) Regulation No. 852/2004 does not specify the approval of primary production areas, in this Technical Regulation covers primary production and allied areas involved in the export of fishery products and specifies that these shall be approved and monitored by Fish Inspection and Quality Control Division (FIQCD), the National Competent Authority (NCA). Approval of establishments processing fishery products meant for export shall be approved by NCA in two stages as specified in 854/2004. In the first stage, conditional approval is given to the establishment based on the satisfactory assessment of infrastructural facilities and full approval is given only after the successful completion of HACCP audit. Exports are permitted only after full approval.
During surveillance visits to the approved facilities, the NCA will draw samples for testing. The method of sampling, frequency, size etc has been specified in Annexure-7 of the document. Further, the chemical and biological requirements of major importing countries have been given at Annexure 6 of the document.
Procedure for issuance for health certificate for export to Non-EU countries has been introduced as per the requirements of the importing countries. In case the importing country does not specify the health certificate format, the generic health certificate format given at Annexure 5 can be used.
Chapter 4: In this Chapter, import procedures have been highlighted which are similar to the import procedures of other ASEAN countries. Department of Fisheries is responsible for the import of fishery products into the Union of Myanmar. An importer intending to import fishery products to Myanmar from a third country needs to obtain a valid license from the Department of Fisheries (DOF).
A licensed importer can import fishery products processed by approved overseas processor having DOF registration. Only those overseas establishments, factory vessels or freezer vessels, which are approved and monitored by the Competent Authority of that country, are eligible for getting registration from DOF
In the case of import of live aquatic animals, the requirements specified in FAO’s “Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals” have also been considered. In this case the importer needs to submit a Health Certificate issued by the overseas Competent Authority as per the format given at Annexure 4, along with other specified documents. All the consignments of live aquatic animals will be subject to quarantine measures, where the animals are kept in isolation for physical and clinical examination by ICS officials. Only healthy and disease-free animals without injury or damage are allowed for importation.
The standard specification of fishery products meant for import has not been specified separately in the draft regulation, since Directive 3/2009, the legal document, already specifies national standards.
Model Health certificates for import of fishery products for human consumption and import of live fishes have been proposed at Annexure 3 and 4.
Efforts have been made to make the regulation as comprehensive as possible by giving cross references to the existing national regulations, wherever applicable. This document will be highly useful for the Competent Authority to establish food safety controls across the food chain. It will also be beneficial to all the stake holders to understand the legal requirements and also to meet international requirements.
Technical Regulations play a pivotal role in international trade in establishing food safety and also in demonstrating equivalency. As envisaged in the SPS agreement, member countries can establish their own standards and technical regulations for protecting the health and safety of their populations. However, these need to be within the framework of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures Agreement. An important aspect of this Agreement is harmonization with international standards/guidelines which also plays a critical role towards establishing equivalency. Accordingly, the document of Technical Regulations for export and import of Fishery products has been prepared for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar based on international requirements under the project TCP/MYA/3401- “Capacity Building to Improve Market Access for Fish and Fishery Products”.
Even though, the Department of Fisheries (DoF) have laid down procedures to establish proper control measures for the export of fishery products from the Union of Myanmar, a well defined Technical Regulation specifying the export and import requirements of fishery products was lacking. Therefore, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has extended support for the preparation of the Technical Regulation, which will be highly beneficial for not only to the Competent Authority but also to all the stakeholders handling fishery products meant for export and import. This manual will be of great use as a reference document to exporters of seafood industry and also to the importers. Based on these Technical Regulations, the Competent Authority can establish and implement regulatory food control systems. Furthermore, these Technical Regulations will automatically help Myanmar to have better accessibility for their fishery products in the international market. The new import policies specified in the Technical Regulation for live fishes will also help in preventing the introduction of exotic diseases in Myanmar waters.
These Technical Regulations have been prepared mainly based on the requirements of European Union, since the Republic of Union of Myanmar has already adopted all EU Regulations in their DoF Directive No 3/2009 dated 03.04.2009. However, requirements of other major importing countries including China, USA, Japan, ASEAN etc have also been taken into consideration while preparing the manual.
This manual address the requirements of all stake holders of the food chain of fishery sector starting from primary production, processing, storage and distribution, etc in separate Chapters. The responsibilities of the Competent Authority have also been addressed in a separate Chapter.
I hope that the Technical Regulations for export and import of Fishery products will be a useful document for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar towards implementing controls over export and import of fishery products thus leading to safe and quality products for both domestic and overseas consumers.
Bui Thi Lan
FAO Representative in Myanmar