WTO confirms Russian pork ban is illegal

The World Trade Organisation’s Appellate Body has confirmed that Russia’s import ban on live pigs, pork and other pig products from the EU violates international trade rules.

“The ruling concerns a ban imposed by Russia in 2014 because of the outbreak of African Swine Fever in areas in the EU close to the border with Belarus,” said the European Commission (EC) in a statement issued today.

“In August 2016, however, a WTO panel acknowledged that the Russian measures are not based on the relevant international standards and violate WTO rules. The (new) ruling confirms this finding, thereby sending another strong signal to Russia and all WTO Members on their obligation to respect international standards and, in particular, the principle of regionalisation, which would allow trade from individual areas of a country which are recognised as pest or disease-free, independent of the health status in the rest of the country.”

The EC statement added that the EU has one of the world’s most efficient animal health and food safety systems, including high detection levels and stringent risk management rules.

“EU products from disease-free areas are safe, and there is no need for any country to maintain unjustified import restrictions,” it said.

“The EU therefore calls on Russia to withdraw its unjustified measures and allow EU companies to resume normal business with their Russian partners.”

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