Urgent plea for EU to intensify SPS negotiations with Russia

EU farm ministers have been urged to intensify negotiations with Russia to get the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) restrictions, imposed on EU pigmeat exports in early 2014, lifted as soon as possible.

The challenge to ministers, meeting in Brussels, was made by Copa-cogeca alongside the comment that the state of the EU pigmeat sector was now “seriously worrying”.

While observing that hopes for a re-opening of the Russian export market to EU products in general had been “destroyed by the prolongation of the Russian export ban to 2016”, the European farm and farm cooperative body still pressed ministers to focus on the SPS ban which has now been running for almost 18 months.

“We urge the EU to intensify negotiations with Russia to get the SPS restrictions lifted,” said Copa-cogeca. “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.”

The organisation’s secretary-general, Pekka Pesonen, highlighted the current plight of the industry by citing pricing issues in Austria and Belgium as prime examples of the current “difficult” EU pigmeat market.

“In Austria,” he said, “prices for some categories of pork continue to be 7% down on 2013 levels whilst in Belgium they are down by as much as 12% compared to 2014.”

The call for action on pigmeat headed a long list of key concerns which included worries about the dairy sector, fruit and vegetable production and the European Commission’s plans to renationalise the EU market authorisation of genetically modified crops for feed and food use, a plan which Copa-cogeca said ministers should reject.

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