Russian import ban from Poland unjustified

09-03-2007 | |

EU veterinary experts will travel to Moscow next week to try to convince the Russian authorities that the ban on imports of agricultural products from Poland is unjustified.

Initially, the meeting was organised by the Russians to discuss the outcome of its recent inspections in Poland. However, EU experts also hope to discuss the threat of a wider Russian ban on EU agricultural products.

Health report for all EU states
Last Friday the Russian authorities sent a fax to the Commission, asking that it provides residue monitoring and control plans for all EU member states by the end of March. If they do submit this information on time, they face the possibility of a suspension of imports from all those countries.

While the Commission has said that it will provide this information willingly (it provides such control plans to non-EU countries annually anyway), there are question marks over whether all 27 member states will be able to meet the end of March deadline.

Keep EU on tight leash
It appears that the letter from Russia last Friday outlined concerns with veterinary standards of meat imports from several EU countries which were either alerted or uncovered by the Russians during 2006. These included beef trimmings from Italy, canned fish from Latvia and Lithuania and some processed meat products from Hungary.
Some believe that the latest Russian demands are fuelled by a desire to keep the EU on a tight leash given that the long-running row with Poland may move closer to resolution next week.

Russia threatened to ban meat and plant exports from the EU at the end of last year amid concerns that Bulgaria and Romania who acceded in January did not come up to scratch on food safety standards.

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