Outlook for EU pork trade resumption with Russia not ‘positive’

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Russia plans to be a self-sufficient producer of pork by 2020
Russia plans to be a self-sufficient producer of pork by 2020

Related tags Eu pork European union Livestock Pork

In an address to the European Parliament on Tuesday 12 April, European agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said the response from Russia to reignite pork trade dialogue had “not been very positive”.

Hogan was speaking at high-level summit of EU farm ministers at the European Parliament yesterday and said talks with Russia to overturn its “protectionist​” ban on EU pork had made little in the way of progress.

The comments from the agriculture commissioner came a week after GlobalMeatNews revealed​ the World Trade Organization (WTO) was poised to secretly announce its verdict on Russia’s 2014 ban of EU pork.

So far, no news about the verdict has been made public. This is despite an anonymous source confirming that Russia and Europe should be aware of the WTO’s decision on whether Vladimir Putin’s government ban on EU pork constitutes arbitrary discrimination against another WTO member.

EU ready to negotiate

In his speech yesterday, Hogan said he and his team were working in parallel to the long-running WTO procedure and had made “numerous efforts to convince Russia to engage in meaningful, technical negotiations for an agreed solution at EU level​”.

He also said Russia had been notified that Europe was ready to properly consider any comprehensive proposals submitted by the Kremlin to the European Commission on relaxing the pork embargo.

Russia’s self-sufficiency plan

Last month, Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU’s health and food safety commissioner, told Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, that the EU was keen to start dialogue on trade resumption with Russia. But so far, Russia has stonewalled attempts from European politicians to start negotiations.

While Europe continues to pursue various avenues to resume pork trade, Russia on the other hand is careering forwards with plans to be a self-sufficient pork producer. Vikki Campbell, an analyst at the UK levy board AHDB Pork, said the pace of domestic pork production in Russia grew by 4.2% in 2015. Campbell added that Russian imports of pork were “set to decline​” as Vladimir Putin’s administration had set its ambition on becoming self-sufficient in pork​ within the next four years.

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