Copa-cogeca is prepared to “go it alone” on pigmeat deal with Russia

Europe’s farm leaders have delivered a “go it alone” ultimatum to the European Commission (EC) concerning the need to resolve pigmeat export issues with Russia.

Following up on last Thursday’s announcement of a farmers’ protest in Brussels on September 7, Copa president Albert Jan Maat (pictured above), urged the EC to “intensify” its efforts to remove the Russian pigmeat import ban which was introduced in early 2014. While the “intensify” message isn’t new, his follow-on line certainly is.

“If the situation is not improved, member states must be allowed to negotiate with the Russian authorities their export certificates in order to re-establish trade in pigmeat as soon as possible,” he said, highlighting the fact that the EC currently operates on a one-in/all-in basis, a block approach which he clearly believes may not be relevant for much longer.

What appears to be a clear “go it alone” threat, was attached to Mr Jan Maat’s warning that farmers are the “victims” of the EU’s trade battle for Russia, and that the EC’s response to finding new markets is currently “not nearly enough”.

“In the pigmeat sector, there is an extremely difficult situation, partly as a result of the Russian export restrictions which were imposed at the end of January 2014,” he added. “We need a strong export strategy.

“We urge the EU to intensify negotiations with Russia to get the SPS restrictions imposed on EU pigmeat exports in early 2014 lifted. This would enable exports to Russian to resume for some products like edible offal and bacon which were not included in the global list of banned products resulting from the political dispute between the EU and Russia.

“We also call for targeted measures in the regions worst affected by the ban. If the situation is not improved, member states must be allowed to negotiate with the Russian authorities their export certificates in order to re-establish trade in pigmeat as soon as possible.”

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