FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE
|On July 20, 1999, the United States and the European Union signed the
Equivalency Agreement in Brussels. Commission
Decision 2003/833/EC amends the Annexes to the Agreement on sanitary
measures to protect public and animal health.
The concept of the equivalency agreement allows veterinary inspection requirements to differ between the U.S. and the EU but ensures the United States' right to establish its own level of public health protection. The signing of the agreement is the result of six years of negotiating and compromising on both USDA's and the EU's part. The overall framework for the veterinary equivalency agreement was agreed to in April 1997.
To date, the EU has also concluded veterinary equivalency agreements with Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Chile. Negotiations are ongoing with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay). The most recent Joint Management Committee meeting to discuss the VEA took place on December 8-10, 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden.