Plateforme des exportateurs (ExPla)
The European Platform of Exporters of Bovine Genetics (ExPla) is a coordinating body that represents breeding organisations and companies from 11 countries that account for roughly 85 % (in volume) and 95 % (in value), respectively, of the EU exports of bovine semen as well as for around 80 % of EU trade in pure-bred breeding animals to Third countries.
ExPla exchanges notably with the EU Commission in the field of export of bovine semen and embryos as well as live breeding animals to Third Countries. Of particular importance are the veterinary certificates, which are a prerequisite for trade. Apart from that, the Platform deals with general trade questions. It is represented in the SPS Market Access Working Group of DG TRADE.
The activities of ExPla trace back to an initiative of professional organisations of the Netherlands, Germany, France and Austria who started back in the 1990’s to discuss the legislative framework for exports of live bovine breeding animals. The Platform has been developed further and since 2007 there are two working groups: The first deals with semen and embryos (S&E) and the second with live animals (LA).
The ExPla members stand up for quality assurance in trade and for the removal of unjustified trade restrictions.
The following organisations are members of the Platform:
Germany: German Animal Breeders‘ Federation (ADT), Groups S&E and LA
German Livestock Association (BRS), Groups S&E and LA
France: Allice, Group S&E
Races de France, Group LA
Austria: genetic AUSTRIA GmbH, Group S&E
Rinderzucht Austria (ZAR), Group LA
Netherlands: CRV (for the Holstein breed represented in CZ, too), Group S&E
Veepro Holland, Group LA
Denmark, Sweden, Finland: Viking Genetics, Group S&E
United Kingdom: Export Certification Ltd, Group S&E
Spain: Ascol, Group S&E
Italy: Inseme, Group S&E
Belgique: Association Wallone de l'Elevage (AWE), Group S&E
The chairman of the Platform is currently Hans-Peter Schons (ADT, Germany). The secretariat is housed at the ADT office in Brussels (Rue du Luxembourg 47-51, 1050 Brussels).
EU is net exporter of bovine semen and live breeding animals
The use of modern breeding technologies plays an important role in further developing livestock herds and achieving genetic progress. Hence, it is no surprise that bovine semen is traded worldwide. The Member States of the European Union usually sell between 20 and 25 mln doses every year (including intra-EU trade). Back in .2012, the trade value exceeded 100 mln EUR. Exports from the EU to Third countries usually amount to 10 - 11 mln doses. Due to the trade restrictions, that many trade partners imposed after the detection of the Schmallenberg virus, the exports dropped to barely 8,9 mln doses in 2012. They recovered only slowly, but steadily in the coming years and reached a new peak of 11,4 mln doses in 2016, a level that will most probably not be attained in 2017. However, this good result was possible only at the expense of a price reduction. Even though the total value of the EU semen exports to Third countries climbed to more than 32 mln in 2016, the average value per dose was significantly down. In fact, a steady decline has been observed in every year since 2012. One of the reasons is that the EU lost market share in high-price countries (like the USA) and compensated this by selling more to low-price countries (like Turkey or Vietnam).
The Top 10 Third country export destinations are Turkey, the United States of America, Vietnam, Brazil, Tunisia, Russia, Switzerland, Morocco, Canada and Argentina. Back in 2009 the share of Third country exports was almost 60 %. It has dropped to below 40 % in 2013 and recovered to 46 % in 2016. All in all, some untapped market potential remains!
Bovine semen imports from Third countries have been growing steadily in recent years, although volumes and value were down in 2016 compared to the year before. By far the most important origin are the USA, which sold around 4,8 mln doses worth 36 mln EUR in 2016 (out of a total of 8,5 mln doses valued at 59 mln EUR). Canada follows suit with around 3,1 mln doses and 20 mln EUR. Switzerland holds the 3rd place with roughly 1,3 mln doses, followed by Norway with 0,7 mln. The EU is a
net exporter of bovine semen based on the number of traded doses (with a surplus of almost 3 mln doses in 2016). But due to the import of relatively high priced semen from North America and the much lower price for exported semen, the EU has for a long time been a net importer in terms of value (the deficit decreased to below 27 mln EUR in 2016).
As for the pure-bred breeding animals, the official statistics (Eurostat) show that the export value rose to almost 620 mln EUR in 2016 (heifers, cows and other breeding animals, including intra-EU trade). The 28 EU Member States sold slightly more than 200.000 animals to Third countries (some 86 % of the total are heifers). The most important destinations were Turkey and Russia. Only a few hundert breeding animals are imported each year from Third countries and the EU remains a very big net exporter, the export surplus increased to 364 mln EUR in 2016.