Russia banned EU pork imports after cases of African swine fever were detected in the bloc.
The European Union launched a case against Russia at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Tuesday over a ban imposed on all EU pork imports after cases of African swine fever were detected in the bloc.
The issue came amid the worst crisis between Moscow and the West since the fall of the Soviet Union following Russia’s widely condemned annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
“This trade ban has exposed the EU farming sector to significant losses,’’ the European Commission said, adding that Russia’s decision in January to close its market to live pigs and pork products had cut off almost 25 per cent of all EU exports in the sector.
“After weeks of talks with our Russian counterparts to try to resolve this issue, we see absolutely no progress,’’ EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said, giving the bloc “no choice anymore but to pursue this case at the WTO.’’
“This disproportionate ban is having a major financial impact on our European pig industry and cannot go unchallenged,’’ EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg added.
According to the commission, the bloc exports 700,000 tonnes of pig meat to Russia annually and the sales are worth 1.4 billion Euros annually.
Report says four cases of African swine fever have been detected in the EU this year, two in Lithuania and two in Poland, and all near the Belarusian border.
Brussels has charged that the outbreak originated in Russia, reaching the EU via Belarus.
According to European Commission, it has repeatedly argued that Russia is failing to live up to its WTO commitments after joining the trade body in 2012.
It accused Moscow on Tuesday of “double standards’’ since it was accepting imports from Belarus and had done so until recently from Ukraine, in spite of notified cases of African swine fever in these countries.
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