The WTO announced this week that it is moving forward with a dispute settlement panel to address Russia’s suspension of pork imports from the European Union. Imports ceased on Jan. 30 due to findings of African swine fever (ASF) in EU member states Lithuania and Poland (and later in the year in Latvia), so the suspension has now been in place for nearly six months.
As of June 22, Russia’s 430,000 metric ton (mt) pork tariff rate quota was only 30 percent utilized at 128,000 mt, with imports coming mainly from Brazil and Canada. Compared to last year, Russia’s imports of frozen pork (163,000 mt, -34 percent), pork offal (8,700 mt, -81 percent) and pork trimmings (27,700, -77 percent) are all significantly lower.
A large number of new ASF cases were reported this week in Russia and nearby countries in the Baltic Region. Three new cases were reported in Russia, two in Poland and one each in Lithuania and Latvia. More details are available in this weekly report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) also expanded its policy this week regarding meat shipments transiting through the EU. Effective July 21, all shipments into the Customs Union territory (which includes Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus) that transit the EU must be in sealed containers and meet advance notice requirements. Russia first implemented this policy July 7, but at that time it applied only to shipments transiting Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia. It now applies to meat shipments transiting any EU member state.
USMEF does not anticipate that this decree will cause major problems for U.S. red meat exports to Russia, because most U.S. shipments enter Russia directly. U.S. exports to Kazakhstan usually transit through Georgia and the Caspian Sea, rather than through the EU. But exporters who have questions or would like more details about these new restrictions may email Cheyenne Dixon or call 303-623-6328.