ASF Tensions Heighten as Cases Confirmed in Poland

The pork trade impasse between Russia and the European Union took on a new twist this week when new cases of African swine fever (ASF) were confirmed for the first time in Poland. Last month’s finding of ASF in Lithuania – the first within the borders of the EU, other than on the Italian island of Sardinia – had already led to a stoppage of pork exports from the EU to Russia, but Poland is a much larger supplier than Lithuania. Russia imported 29,015 metric tons (mt) of pork from Poland in 2013, nearly nine times the volume taken from Lithuania (3,292 mt).

Poland is also a significant global exporter of pork, and this week South Korea announced that it is temporarily suspending imports of pork from Poland due to ASF. Poland was Korea’s sixth-largest pork supplier in 2013, with imports totaling 12,121 mt. Poland ranked third among Korea’s European suppliers, following Germany (33,115 mt) and Spain (24,069 mt).

Meanwhile six EU member states – Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark – that are considered low risk for ASF have proposed that Russia consider resumption of pork imports from these countries under a temporary veterinary certificate. Russian veterinary officials acknowledged receipt of the proposal, but said it would have to be considered by the entire Customs Union made up of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Import data source: Global Trade Atlas