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Russia may apply to WTO Appellate Body to settle pork supplies issue

August 19, 20:11 UTC+3
The European Union cannot guarantee safety of pork supplies to Russia because of problems with the African Swine Fever
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© EPA PHOTO KEYSTONE/Laurent Gillieron

MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. Russia may approach the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to settle the pork supplies issue, press service of the Ministry of Economic Development said on Friday.

A panel of arbiters of the WTO backed the EU in its dispute with Russia, which imposed the ban on live pigs and pork imports from the bloc, the WTO press service reported earlier today.

"The Russian side disagrees with the latest conclusions because they are ungrounded and not fair. The expediency of applying to the WTO Appellate Body is rather high. The relevant decision will be made in terms prescribed by the WTO procedure - in coming weeks," the ministry said.

The EU cannot guarantee safety of pork supplies to Russia

Head of the Russian veterinary and phytosanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor Sergey Dankvert said the European Union cannot guarantee safety of pork supplies to Russia because of problems with the African Swine Fever (ASF).

"Brussels gives illusions instead of guarantees. They cannot honor guarantees. They have 2,500 ASF cases in four countries but they do nothing. They may win procedurally but they did not give us a right to sign individual documents with each country, despite the fact that a country is responsible for export and Brussels does not," Dankvert said.

The Panel found that the restrictions Russia had introduced on imports of pork and live pigs from the EU countries due to an outbreak of 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. Each party has 60 days to file an appeal.

"It does not mean borders will be opened. Procedural matters, appeals will follow. We will be involved with them for about two years," head of the Russian regulator said.

The European Union should undertake strict measures against ASF, Dankvert said. The headcount of wild boars spreading the disease is 4 mln in the EU, he added.

Russia should materially reduce the wild boars headcount for African Swine Fever (ASF) combating, Dankvert added.

"We have a narrow option: either to perish pigs or wild boars. We need to break the African Swine Fever transmission chain. In any case, the headcount should be significantly reduced," Dankvert said.

The wild boars headcount recovery may start after the ASF transmission chain is broken, he added.

African Swine Fever penetrated Russia from the territory of Georgia in 2007. Disease outbreaks are found from time to time in various Russian regions, in Belarus and Ukraine. ASF was recorded in the EU territory in February 2014. The disease is lethal for wild boars and pigs.

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