Italian Ambassador to Korea Emilia Gatto speaks about Korea-Italy relations during an interview with The Korea Times at the Embassy of Italy in Seoul, Thursday. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

Italian Ambassador to Korea Emilia Gatto has urged the Korean government to expedite the approval process for key Italian agricultural exports, citing significant delays attributed to stringent sanitary and phytosanitary regulations.“Within the European Union-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which is the legal framework of bilateral trade between Italy and Korea, there are a number of sanitary and phytosanitary barriers,” Gatto said during an interview with The Korea Times at the Embassy of Italy in Seoul, Thursday.“The Korean government imposes a series of long procedures before certain agri-food products from Europe — Italy in this case — have access to the Korean market.”Gatto identified three products of particular interest for export to Korea: beef, processed pork and oranges. She noted that while progress has been made, it is not moving as swiftly as desired.“For beef, the procedure is ongoing but not as fast as we would like,” Gatto said.

“We have finalized the technical questionnaire and now the Korean authorities need to analyze and verify all the technical details. This is taking some time, and we want to speed this process up. After that, there will be further steps, including inspections by Korean sanitary authorities in Italy and parliamentary approval before we can export Italian beef.”Discussing the potential for exporting oranges, Gatto indicated that technical discussions are progressing. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies are in dialogue and waiting for approval from the Korean authorities to conduct surveys and inspections in Italy.The situation for processed pork, particularly Italian ham, is more complex due to recent cases of African swine flu in some Italian regions.“Because of very strict rules from the Korean authorities, we have faced a temporary export ban for three years, which is a very long time,” Gatto said.“These three products from Italy are somewhat hostage to the sanitary and phytosanitary barriers. We would like the Korean authorities to be a little bit faster in analyzing our documents and replying to our market 카지노사이트킹 access requests.”

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