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WTO backs EU lawsuit against Russia on pork import restrictions

August 19, 18:17 UTC+3 GENEVA
The arbiters stressed that Russia did not meet international standards
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© Vitaly Nevar/TASS

GENEVA, August 19. /TASS/. A panel of arbiters of World trade Organization (WTO) has backed the EU in its dispute with Russia, which imposed restrictions of pig and pork imports from the bloc, the WTO press service reported.

The arbiters stressed that Russia did not meet international standards for such a ban which was discriminatory, violating WTO rules.

The Panel also found that the restrictions Russia had introduced on imports of pork and live pigs from the EU countries due to an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) for the period from January to September of 2014, are not "based on" the OIE standards and are thus inconsistent with Russia's obligation to "base" its SPS measures on international standards.

At the same time Russia's permanent representative to WTO Gennady Ovechko told TASS that the arbitrators had rejected Brussels’ accusations of ignoring the economic factors, lack of transparency measures and exceeding their minimum protective threshold addressed to Russia.

"In this case a positive decision in our favor was impossible due to lack of a preliminary risk assessment. The report on the dispute recommends that such a procedure should be carried out," Ovechko said.

He added that "the Russian side welcomes the conclusion of the arbitrators that Russia’s ban on supplies of pork from Latvia meets the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

He said that Russian experts will carefully analyze the outcome of the dispute and the decision of the panel.

In April 2014, the EU requested consultations with Russia concerning certain measures adopted by Russia affecting the importation of live pigs and their genetic material, pork, pork products and certain other commodities from the European Union.

In July WTO established a panel of arbiters to consider the dispute.

After the panel made the decision each party to the dispute has 60 days to appeal it.

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