On August 19th, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel declared illegal the Russian import ban on live pigs, fresh pork and other pig products from the EU in the light of international trade rules.
The ruling concerns a ban imposed by Russia in early 2014 because of a limited number of cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in areas in the EU close to the border with Belarus.
The panel acknowledged that Russia's refusal to accept imports of certain EU products and to adapt EU-Russia import certificates accordingly amounts to an EU-wide import ban. This measure is not based on the relevant international standards and violates the rules of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement). Individual Russian bans on imports from Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia received the same criticism from the panel.
For most of the products dealt with in this case, trade continues to be restricted by a politically motivated ban imposed on EU agri-food products by Russia in August 2014. Nevertheless, the panel's findings are of systemic importance, since they remind Russia about its international obligations and the fact that these cannot be arbitrarily ignored.
The panel report can be appealed within 60 days. If no appeal is filed within that deadline, the report will be adopted and Russia will be bound to comply with the recommendation.
Friday, August 2016/ EC/ European Union.
Friday, August 2016/ WTO https://www.wto.org/