Russia has no plans of raising the 2014 imports ban on pork from the European Union (EU), however, plans to move the restrictions to the list of political sanctions after the unfavourable decision by the World Trade Organization (WTO), says the EU food safety commissioner Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis of Lithuania.
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At a meeting with Russia's Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev in Moscow on Thursday, the commissioner said the European Commission was not happy with the decision and advised Russia to reconsider it.

"We won the case at the World Trade Organization and asked about how they planned to implement the decision, as the deadline is already approaching. The decision is that Russia agrees with the World Trade Organization's conclusions and decides that the government will no longer impose the restriction as a phytosanitary norm but would move it to the list of political bans and political sanctions," Andriukaitis told BNS in a telephone interview.

"We expressed our dissatisfaction with the decision, we asked them again to reconsider it, however, it shows once again that Russia remained in the regime of protectionist measures, which is unacceptable for a member-state of the World Trade Organization," he added.

In Andriukaitis' words, the meeting with the Russian agriculture minister also addressed joint actions to prevent further spread of the African swine fever after outbreaks had been reported in the Russian Kaliningrad region wedged between Lithuania and Poland.

"I suggested discussing implementation of joint pilot projects in border regions with Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. His response was positive, saying that only joint measures could curb this, as the virus was currently wide-spread in the Asian part of Russia, the Irkutsk region and could reach China," said Andriukaitis.

In his words, the conversation also touched upon the antimicrobial resistance, rabies control measures and cooperation in notification about new infections, joint research projects to develop vaccines.
"We agreed that Russia could notify about outbreaks of new infection and new infections via the European Union's notification system so that we could use the shared information. Avian flu, African swine fever and all other infections have reached pandemic levels due to climate change, and common efforts are needed," Andriukaitis told BNS.

The meeting with the Russian minister took place during Andriukaitis' visit in Moscow for a tuberculosis conference organized by the World Health Organization.

BNS
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