Mon, 03 Feb 2014
RUSSIA - Russia has turned down a proposal by the European Commission to exclude pig meat export certificates for the six regions of Lithuania most at risk from African swine fever.
Moscow told the Commission last week that its ban on pig meat imports from anywhere in the European Union stays in force.
Nearly a quarter of European pig meat exports go to the Russian market, worth over £1 billion, so Brussels is keen to see the situation resolved as soon as possible.
So are British pig-keepers, as an annual 700,000 tonnes of European Union pigmeat remaining on the domestic European market will inevitably impact on producer prices.
Russia said yesterday it cannot accept the regionalisation system proposed by Brussels as it "cannot trust" European Union statistics on wild boar, African swine fever and serological testing.
Health commissioner Tonio Borg has slated Russia's decision to suspend trade in pigs and pigmeat from the European Union as "disproportionate". He said he regretted Moscow's failure to recognise Europe's regionalisation system, which has been in place since Monday.
The Lithuanian export exclusion zone covers the six districts nearest the Belarusian border—Trakai, Salcininkai, Lazdijai, Varena, Alytus and Druskininkai.
Russian experts will meet in Moscow on Monday to discuss the situation. They intend to send a number of questions to the Commission seeking further clarity.
And high-level officials from the Brussels health and consumer department are expected to meet their Russian counterparts early next week.
Commissioner Borg has appealed to Moscow to take into account all the evidence presented to it by Brussels, including the results of on-the-spot inspections.
He has reminded Russia that the disease spread to Lithuania team from "neighbouring non-European Union countries where the disease was not contained".
Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.