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EU Attacks Russia in WTO over African Swine Fever

04 April 2014

GLOBAL - The row between the European Union and Russia over a block on trade in pigs and pig meat moved to the World Trade Organisation last week.

During a meeting of the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Committee, the EU complained about the severity of Russia’s blanket ban.

In reporting on the instances when African swine fever was found in two wild boar in Lithuania in January 2014, and two in Poland the following month, the EU stressed that the disease has not been found in farm animals.

The EU said the disease had spread from Russia and other countries to the east of the EU.

And it described the controls in place and the technical assistance it has given to neighbouring countries.

The EU complained that Russia has imposed a blanket ban on live pigs, pork and products from the entire EU even though the disease had only been found in two countries.

The EU complained that Russia did not apply regionalization and overlooked the EU’s controls.

Meanwhile, the EU said, Russia had reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that the disease had been found in 600 wild boar and 400 farms meaning hundreds of thousands of farm pigs had been infected.

The EU said it is paying the price for Russia’s failure to control the disease in its own territory, and urged Russia to bring its measures into line with international standards and to respect its WTO obligations.

Russia replied that the measure is temporary and can be resolved by negotiating the required certificates.

Russia said the disease had spread from Georgia and described in detail the controls it has in place and the information it has shared with the EU and others to keep them informed.

In further correspondence this week between the deputy head of the Russian veterinary authority Rosselkhoznador, Eugene Nepoklonov, and the director for health and consumer protection at the European Commission, Bernard van Goethem, the Russian authorities repeated their concerns over the EU’s control methods for African swine fever.

Mr Nepoklonov said they were “unhelpful and insufficient measures to eliminate and prevent the spread of African swine fever in the European Union”.

Now, Russia has extended the ban on imports for pork from the EU to fully prepared pork products from Poland and Lithuania.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris

Top image via Shutterstock

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