Progress Made on EU Wool Regs
December 7, 2012

The International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO) has made steps forward with a costly and time-consuming customs issue in importing greasy wool into Europe. 
Greasy wool or hair is defined as "wool waste" and therefore being treated as an animal by-product not intended for human consumption. As a result, it was being stopped at the European Union (EU) borders and was subject to veterinary controls and demands for special transportation vehicles normally used for livestock. This caused delays for manufacturing as well as increased costs. 
The proposed changes to EU Regulation 142/2011 enforcing the importation of greasy wool have been accepted by the EU Parliament and EU Council and have been published in the form of Regulation 1063/2012 amending Regulation 142/2011. The regulation should be implemented by the middle of December. 
IWTO started discussions with the European Commission department DG SANCO and the outcome of these discussions resulted in changes that regulate the import conditions of animal by-products. Two main goals were reached:
There will be no need to notify the transport of untreated wool and hair within the EU as long as it is securely enclosed in packaging, dry and sent directly to the plant.
Lower veterinary costs will be incurred for untreated wool and hair coming from so called 'safe' countries such as Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, certain Argentine Regions, Chile, Falkland Islands, Greenland, Croatia, Iceland, Montenegro and Serbia. (These are countries free from Foot and Mouth Disease without vaccination according to the World Organization for Animal Health).
What is currently unknown is how the individual EU member countries will adapt this new regulation. Exporters are being asked to monitor the situation and provide feedback if the regulation is not achieving the advantages expected. 
A special committee spearhead by Piercarlo Zedda, IWTO vice president, has been vigorously advocating for change in the EU. 
"We have been talking with members of the EU commission to discuss strategies on how to change the regulation that define wool as waste. The draft (proposal) will now be translated into 23 languages and submitted to the EU Parliament and EU Council for approval before it can be implemented on a national level within the EU," said Zedda. 
According to Rita Samuelson, ASI director of wool marketing, "The EU is a very important wool market and, as a result, ASI has supported and advocated these changes made by IWTO to redefine the classification of greasy wool in the EU. This is an issue that has been an obstacle and has caused increased costs to the wool industry." 
Reprinted in part from IWTO and Wool Trade International