Russia shows no hint of softening on EU pigmeat imports

Russia is continuing to take a hard line over its ban on pigmeat imports from the EU, based on health allegations linked to African Swine Fever (ASF).

Having first shut its doors to EU pigmeat early in 2014, Russia’ s veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance body, Rosselkhoznadzor, is still not willing to relent. The organisation’s deputy head, Yevgeny Nepoklonov, recently told the EU ambassador to Russia, Vygaudas Ušackas, that while a country-by-country approach might work an all-EU process most definitely wouldn’t.

According to details published by Rosselkhoznadzor, its deputy head “explained” that the only possibility for a resumption of imports was if the pigmeat in question was accompanied by a health certificate issued by the national veterinary service of the individual exporting country. That certificate would need to indicate that the individual country had been free from ASF for the past three years.

When ambassador Ušackas replied that the supply of EU pork into Russia needed to be dealt with on an “entire” EU basis, Mr Nepoklonov said that was “unacceptable”. He further maintained that ASF was spreading within the EU at a speed of 100 km per year, adding that this was due to the “absence of an effective product tracing system”.

The subsequent Rosselkhoznadzor statement, published on the organisation’s website, added that “abstract guarantees” in respect of the entire EU, remained “more than doubtful”.

This latest Russian/EU exchange comes as the World Trade Organisation is about to pass judgement on the legality of the health basis behind the continued Russian ban on EU pigmeat imports.

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