EU aims to supply Russia with 7m pigs annually

03-10-2012 | | |
EU aims to supply Russia with 7m pigs annually

Experts of the Russian Meat Association estimate that if the ban on live pigs was lifted, the EU would be free to deliver seven million pigs per year to Russia’s domestic market. The association was responding to Estonia’s complaint of Russia’s continuing ban on the importation of live pigs, and the Baltic country is threatening to use the EU Commission to put pressure on Russia to remove the ban, via the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Russia became a member of the WTO last month.

It is the experts cynical opinion, that removal of the ban  would help most, if not all, of Europe’s pig industry problems, which turned very serious last year.
“The Europeans have been prepared to expand into Russian market the moment Russia joins the WTO. If we do not want to lose our own pig production, we have to negotiate new conditions of trade,” said Sergei Yushin, the president of the National Meat Association.

“In the fight to protect our interests we cannot give up. For the EU’s pig industries, export to Russia is a life-and-death issue, they overtly talk about it. But for us, it is also a matter of principle. We will fight right up to the last ditch,” he added.

According to the Russian Meat Association seven million head per year represents one-third of the Russian market. Adding to this figure the volume of imports from other countries and Russia could lose its endemic pig industry.

The Meat Associations statement also notes that at present the EU breeders are suffering in part because of the lack of such an important market as Russia. According to Russian experts all major European countries-producers are reducing their swine populations. Pig population numbers have been dropping over the course of the last year, and involve such pig producing countries as Denmark (-2.3%), Germany (-1.3%), Ireland (-6.6%), Spain (-2.8%), France (-3.2%), the Netherlands (-3.6%), Austria (-2.8%), Poland (-9.6%) and Sweden (-7.2%). Numbers were last measured in June 2012.

The lift of the ban on the import of live pigs to Russia can partly stop Europe’s big decline, but Russia’s farmers are convinced that the restrictions should not be removed.

Source: Vladislav Vorotnikov

Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent