Customs Union adopts harmonised meat policy

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Customs Union adopts harmonised meat policy

Related tags Customs union European union Russia Beef Lamb Pork Poultry

Countries of the Customs Union – Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus – have decided to create and follow a single policy on meat issues, meaning that import restrictions imposed by any of them on a third country will automatically be extended to the rest of the alliance.

As a result, the ban on imports of animal products from EU countries imposed by Russia and Belarus, following the European Schmallenberg Virus outbreak early this year, will also apply to Kazakhstan, starting in May.

“With regard to the implementation of restrictions, we agreed that the introduction of a temporary ban on the importation of veterinary goods from third countries into the territory of the Customs Union will be automatically extended to the whole territory of the Customs Union,”​ said the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, Rosselkhoznadzor.

“The party​ [country] imposing restrictions will give information promptly on their website as to the reasons for the restricted access and will notifying the other two parties in writing. If restrictions are removed, the party should inform the other countries in the same way.”

Experts reckon that the new rules on import restrictions will substantially strengthen Russia’s position in the Customs Union, which in return will raise its potential on the global meat market.

“It is no secret that Russia is the actual head of the Customs Union. If, as predicted, Ukraine also joins the organisation in the next couple of years, then Customs Union countries will account for more than 2.5 million tonnes (mt) of annual meat imports,”​ say experts at Russian analytical agency Agrorucom.

“With overproduction of meat in Russia projected to reach 500,000 tonnes (t) per year by 2020, it could be argued that Russia is seeking to create such rules in order to ensure the presence of its products in Customs Union markets. From now on, any ban on meat imports from Australia, the US or Latin America to the Customs Union could lead to a sharp increase in exports of Russian meat to Belarus and Kazakhstan, in order to shore up the resulting deficit.”

Under the new rules, the countries also agreed to design a single control system for all meat shipments entering the territory of the Union. Russia has offered to move from paper to electronic veterinary certificates. Digital certificates are already used in New Zealand, the EU, the US and Brazil.

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