MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. Russia will request holding an expert panel meeting in its dispute with the European Union on pork supplies by end of January, department director of the Ministry of Economic Development Maxim Medvedkov said on Tuesday on the air with Rossiya 24 TV Channel.
"We will request establishing an [expert - TASS] panel that should determine the correctness of our action by end of January. In case this will be done [Russia’s position will be confirmed - TASS], the European community will lose the right to introduce reciprocal measures from our point of view, and this story will come to nothing," Medvedkov said.
The Ministry of Economic Development stated earlier its intention to convene such a panel. If the panel decides that Russia fulfilled the WTO decision, the dispute with the EU will end. If drawbacks in Russia’s action are found, the country can close them out or sit down to talk again, Medvedkov noted.
The EU earlier requested the right to suspend concessions to Russia amounting to 1.39 bln euro per year. In the opinion of the EU, this is the price of import of live pigs and other porcine products from the EU to Russia as of 2013.
Russia imposed a ban on imports of live pigs and pig-breeding products in early 2014 over an outbreak of African swine fever in Lithuania. In August 2016, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the WTO ruled that Russia’s ban was non-compliant with the WTO rules. Russia challenged this ruling but its motion was dismissed in February 2017. On December 6, 2017, Russia’s veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said it removed the ban on EU pork imports at the WTO request, though the ban on imports of such products would stay in force as these products fall under Russia’s food embargo.
In July 2014, the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions against Russia over the developments in neighboring Ukraine. The sanctions have been regularly extended and expanded ever since. On August 7, 2014, Russia imposed a package of counter measures against the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway. Thus, it banned imports of fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products from these countries for a period of one year. The ban was subsequently extended as well.
Russia’s Economic Development Ministry said earlier on Monday that the EU’s call for compensation amounting to 1.39 bln euros per year over Russia’s ban on pork imports is groundless since the country has met the WTO’s demands and lifted the veterinarian ban imposed over the outbreaks of African swine fever.