EU takes Russia to WTO court to rule out pig ban
The European Commission wrote in a statement on June 30 that it is seeking a WTO ruling because "extensive bilateral discussions over the last months with Moscow have not brought any results."
Russia closed its market to live pigs and pork products in January, after four cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) were detected in wild boars on the Lithuanian and Polish borders with Belarus.
Although Moscow has not formally announced a full ban, the restrictions have so far cost European pork exporters EUR580 million, the European Commission says. Russia normally buys a quarter of the EU's annual pork exports.
Efforts to lift the pork ban have been complicated by tensions over Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, which prompted the EU to impose travel bans and asset freezes on selected Russian officials.
Russia insists the entire EU territory should be quarantined until it can be deemed free from the disease. Its envoy to the EU has said it would be "utterly irresponsible" to lift the ban.
The WTO panel, which must be assembled within 45 days, usually takes a year to deliver its verdict and seeks to find an amicable settlement. But it can order a country to remove any trade restrictions found to be in breach of WTO rules, or to pay compensation.
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