A senior source inside the European Commission (EC) has told GlobalMeatNews that the EC has made “efforts” to reopen the market but has achieved “limited progress” so far, with Russia dismissing a series of concrete offers.
“The European Commission continues its efforts to try to ensure a rapid resumption of trade and contacts are ongoing,” the unnamed source said this week.
“In terms of the SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) ban, different offers tabled at the political and technical level have not been taken up. The failure to break the deadlock is not due to any lack of effort on the EU side. We will continue to support every effort to normalise trade relations.”
Last week, EU farming body Copa-Cogeca blasted the efforts made by the European Commission to restore trade with Russia. Copa’s vice-president Henri Brichard called on Europe to step up its efforts to solve the crisis, which has left pork prices at the lowest level in 11 years, something Brichard said was “unacceptable”.
A spokesman from the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV) declined to comment on whether Europe had worked hard enough to restore trade with Russia.
Since Russia banned EU pork there has been an oversupply of pig meat in Europe that would normally have gone to Russia. Much of this surplus has been exported to fast-growing Asian countries, like China, albeit at the expense of price. This caused EU pork prices to hit their lowest levels in a decade during the first months of 2016, according to an analyst from UK levy board AHDB Pork.
Separately, the EU and Russia are awaiting a verdict from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is assessing where Russia flouted international trade policy by banning all EU pork shipments. It is understood that both parties have been given the verdict from the WTO, and this will be made public in September, according to sources close to the WTO.