Russia claims support from China and India over EU pork ban

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags African swine fever European union Lithuania Eu Livestock Pork

Veterinary services in China and India are supporting the Russian ban on EU pork imports, according to Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor.

The watchdog also claimed that veterinary experts in these two countries had accused European Union authorities of "double standards"​ in dealing with such problems and that, in order to see the ban lifted, the European Commission should change its view of the situation.

Russia imposed the ban on EU pork products following recent outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in Lithuania and Poland.

Discussions on the ban were held during recent meetings between Russian officials and their Chinese and Indian counterparts. In Beijing, Rosselkhoznadzor secretary Alexei Alexeenko met with Lee Chung Feng, deputy director of the Bureau of Import and Export Food Safety of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (IQSIQ). Also, last week in Delhi, the head of Rosselkhoznadzor’s department on international cooperation and the WTO, Vasily Lavrovskiy, held consultations with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India.

"Participants in the consultations noted that some of their trading partners, particularly the EU, often use a practice of double standards when it comes to determining epizootically safe areas in their own territory and in the territory of their trading partners,"​ said spokespeople from Rosselkhoznadzor, following the meetings.

According to the watchdog, Indian veterinary experts said that whenever a disease occurs in the EU, this is a just treated as a "small omission​", while when the same outbreaks are found on the territory of third countries, quarantine restrictions apply to the whole of the territory.

"This was clearly demonstrated when African swine fever (ASF) was reported in the wild boar population in Lithuania,"​ added Rosselkhoznadzor. "The experts agreed that because of a ‘lightweight’ approach to regionalisation issues, European experts have wasted time, and new outbreaks have been already registered in Poland. It is possible this happened due to the free movement of pigs from regions in Lithuania that were considered safe."

In a separate note, Chinese vets have said they are ready to intensify work with Russian colleagues on this issue.

"On 17 February 2014, China also imposed restrictive measures on the imports of European pig products. We are also ready to co-operate with Russian experts on these core issues at all possible international levels, including with the committees on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the World Trade Organization, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the World Organization for Animal Health and so on,"​ said Lee Chung Feng.

In addition, Rosselkhoznadzor has proposed that the BRICS countries consult and develop a common position on the situation with ASF in Europe, based on "more transparent and rational basis".

Contacted by globalmeatnews on the claims, the EC declined to comment at press time, claiming that EC health commissioner Tonio Borg would be meeting shortly with his Russian counterparts to discuss the issues.

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