Although Russia has accepted the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) recommendations regarding the prohibition on the import of live animals and pig products from the EU due to the presence of ASF in some regions being illegal, the prohibition persists because the Russian embargo to several countries (among them all the EU countries) is still in force due to political reasons.
After the African swine fever outbreaks in certain regions of the European Union in 2014, Russia imposed restrictions to the import of live pigs, pork and certain pig products from the European Union.
On 8 April 2014, the European Union requested consultations with the Russian Federation concerning certain measures adopted by the Russian Federation affecting the importation of live pigs and their genetic material, pork, pork products and other commodities from the European Union, purportedly because of concerns related to African swine fever cases.
On August 19th, 2016, the WTO announced that the Russian ban on the import of live pigs, pork and other pig products from the European Union was illegal in the light of the international trade regulations.
On September 23rd, 2016, the Russian Federation filed an appeal regarding the matter set out by the European Union.
On February 24th, 2017, the WTO’s Appellate Body confirmed that the prohibitions were illegal.
At the DSB meeting on April 19th, 2017, the Russian Federation stated that it intended to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings in a manner that respected its obligations towards the WTO, and that it would need a reasonable period to do so.
On June 2nd, 2017, the European Union and the Russian Federation informed the DSB that they had agreed that the reasonable period to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings would be 8 months and 15 days. Accordingly, the reasonable period is set to expire on December 6th, 2017.
Russia accepts the WTO’s decision
The Russian government published, last December 6th, the WTO’s DSB “DS475 Russian Federation – Measures on the Importation of Live Pigs, Pork and Other Pig Products from the European Union.”
The Russian Federation competent authorities have implemented the relevant conclusions of the DSB in full, in good faith and within the reasonable period for implementation notified to the DSB. They will continue to monitor the ASF situation within the EU along with the assessment of risks of a further spreading of the ASF within the EU. We expect our EU colleagues to fully cooperate with the Rosselkhoznadzor without impeding our access to necessary data and the carrying out of inspections and checks with a view on the collection of such data. The decisions taken will not lower the level of veterinary protection of the Russian Federation.
Nevertheless, in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of August 6th, 2014, no. 560 and the Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation of August 7th, 2014, no. 778, imports of live pigs (except for purebred pedigree animals) and pig products originating from the States that adopted a decision to apply economic sanctions in respect of natural and/or legal persons of the Russian Federation, in particular the EU and its Member States, continue to be prohibited.
333’s editorial office.