The ban was imposed in 2009 due to incidence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) commonly known as ‘mad cow disease’ in the US cattle stock. Commerce Ministry imposed ban after obtaining permission from the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet. US embassy in Islamabad, sources said, doubled its efforts to convince the top government officials that as the risk is negligible, Pakistan should open its market for US live animals.
The sources said during this year’s session, the World Assembly of national delegates recognised Bulgaria and Costa Rica as having ‘controlled risk’ status with regard to BSE, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Slovenia and USA were recognised as having a ‘negligible BSE risk’.
Sources in Ministry of National Food Security and Research told this scribe that a delegation of US embassy comprising Agriculture Counsellor is meeting Commerce Secretary, Munir Quesrhi on Friday (today) to request him to lift ban on live animals from the US. Washington is pursuing Islamabad on the issue of live animals import since long but Ministries of Commerce and Ministry of National Food Security and Research opposed it at all fora. Pakistan is free of BSE.
Commerce Ministry is expected to send the proposal to the ECC to seek permission to lift ban on import of live animals from the US. Secretary Commerce is also authorised to take decision on this issue. Presently, Pakistan is importing live animals from Australia and New Zealand and in case ban is lifted for US imports, Pakistani importers would get competitive prices, said an analyst. Officially Pakistan does not impose restrictions on import of live animals from those countries which are recognised as having as ‘negligible BSE risk’.