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ADT - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Tierzüchter e.V.
Head Office: Adenauerallee 174 • 53113 Bonn • Germany
EU liaision office: Rue du Luxembourg 47-51 • 1050 Brussels • Belgium

Export Platform (ExPla)

European Platform of Exporters of bovine genetics (ExPla)

The European Platform of Exporters of Bovine Genetics (ExPla) is a coordinating body that represents breeding organisations and companies from 12 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.


ExPla developed from the 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 bovine 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.

One focus of ExPla's activities has recently been to combat the unjustified restrictions imposed by some Third countries on the import of semen obtained from donor bulls having been found positive for Schmallenberg virus in a serological test. European exporters have invested in systematic monitoring of these bulls and by using PCR tests, they can ensure that only safe semen is exported. The members of ExPla have written a position paper which explains this procedure in more detail and which can be downloaded from the following link:

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 (Bundesverband Rind und Schwein, BRS), Groups S&E and LA

France: Eliance (umbrella organisation of French AI centres), Group S&E

Races de France (French herdbook organisations), Group LA

Austria: genetic AUSTRIA GmbH, Group S&E

Zentrale Arbeitsgemeinschaft österreichischer Rinderzüchter (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: UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP), Group S&E

Ireland: Dovea Genetics , Group S&E

Spain: Spanish Group of stud centres, Group S&E

Italy: Inseme, Group S&E

Belgium: 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, contact: expla@eclipso.eu).

EU remains net exporter of bovine semen and live breeding animals

The exchange of bovine genetics across national borders contributes significantly to the stabilisation of genetic progress. At the same time, it is an important economic pillar for domestic cattle breeders and their organisations. In the 2019 calendar year, for example, almost 24.2 million portions of bovine semen were marketed by the 27 Member States of the European Union to Third countries, with a market value of almost 100 million EUR. While intra-EU trade exceeded the already very high level of the previous year, rising by a further 300,000 to 12.6 million portions, exports from the EU to third countries fell short of the record result of 2018 by around 170,000 portions, dropping to 11.5 million portions. Significantly lower deliveries to Turkey and the continuing negative trend in sales to the US could not be offset by higher sales of semen to Vietnam, China, the UK, Brazil or Morocco. These countries are the seven most important markets for the EU-27 among all Third countries. The export value of bovine semen exports to Third countries in 2018 was more than 38 million EUR. This is one of the areas where Brexit is a significant factor, as the UK is now a third country from the EU-27's point of view, and the relatively high-priced supplies to this country now count as exports. In fact, the UK is the largest exporter in terms of sales value, followed by China, Turkey, the USA and Switzerland. While the share of EU-27 exports to Third countries was still just over 50% in 2016, it has recently fallen to below 48%.

Imports of bovine semen from Third countries have tended to grow steadily in recent years, reaching a peak of 10.6 million portions in the 2018 calendar year. In 2019, however, a decline of almost 10% to 9.6 million portions was recorded. By far the most important country of origin is the USA, which in 2019 still sold 3.7 million doses worth around EUR 27.4 million. Canada follows with about 3.2 million portions (valued at 18.2 million EUR). With a good 2 million portions, the United Kingdom ranks third. Switzerland is in 4th place with 281,000 doses and has thus overtaken New Zealand (210,000 portions). It is followed by Norway with almost 90,000 units. In terms of value, EU imports were down only 1,5 % at 62,6 mln EUR.

The EU is still a net exporter of bovine semen in terms of volume (around 2 million portions). However, due to the import of relatively high-priced semen from North America and the much lower price of exported semen, the EU has long been a net importer in terms of value of goods (the deficit fell to 24.5 million EUR in 2019).


Trade in live animals has recently been on a downward trend. While intra-Community trade in the calendar year 2019 was only marginally below the previous year's level with just under 317,000 head of breeding livestock (heifers, cows and other breeding animals), exports to Third countries fell by 8% to 249,000 head (after already being 12% lower in 2018). The main destinations were Russia and Algeria, followed by the United Kingdom. Turkey has drastically reduced its imports, taking less than 20,000 breeding cattle from the EU in 2019, over 70% less than in the previous year and less than a sixth of the record year 2017, when around 127,000 animals went there from the EU. The export of high-quality breeding cattle is an important pillar of European agriculture, with a sales value of over 700 million EUR in 2019 (about 61 million EUR less than in the previous year). Sales to third countries accounted for 62% (438 million EUR), while intra-EU exchanges generated 272 million EUR. Few breeding animals are imported from Third countries each year (the vast majority of them from the UK) and the EU remains a very large net exporter; in 2019 the export surplus reached 437 million EUR.

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