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Negotiations between Nikolai Vlasov and Director of Directorate D, Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission Michael Scannell

The negotiations were held on the 9th of March 2017 at the initiative of the Russian side and were devoted to crucial issues of export-import relations between Russia and the EU. Due to wide spread of avian influenza (AI) in the European Union the Russian side expressed its concern about effectiveness of measures taken by DG SANTE and the EU veterinary bodies in order to prevent spread of the disease and about equivalence of the approaches chosen by the European Commission in relation to poultry product supplies from Russia to the EU in case of AI. Special attention of the Rosselkhoznadzor to the issue is explained by the fact that Russia in strict compliance with its WTO commitments and the OIE Code recommendations, recognizes regionalization implemented by the EU and imposes restrictions on poultry products only from those administrative districts that are considered infected by the Directorate General of the European Commission based on its own risk assessment.

On the contrary, after the first AI outbreak in the Republic of Kalmykia the European Commission banned imports of poultry products to the EU from the entire territory of Russia and so far the EU has not recognized zoning of Russia’s territory implemented by the Rosselkhoznadzor, despite the information on epizootic investigations into AI outbreaks in Russia and measures taken to eradicate the disease.

Micheal Scannel one more time referred to the current EU risk analysis procedure that is common for all the EU trade partners and expressed readiness to accelerate work, if the Rosselkhoznadzor timely provides additional materials on the current situation on these diseases in Russia. Issue of FMD regionalization is within the same context, as Nikolai Vlasov thinks.

Taking into account positive assessment of the materials provided by the Rosselkhoznadzor on FMD eradication in the Vladimir Oblast and the fact that the OIE reinstated Russia to its list of countries with a zone free from FMD without vaccination, DG SANTE is obliged to address the issue of access to the EU market for Russian livestock products from disease-free regions. Micheal Scannel confirmed that DG SANTE is preparing a questionnaire for the Rosselkhoznadzor. As soon as it is completed and the answers are analyzed, it will be possible to consider conditions for import of products from FMD-free regions of Russia to the EU.

The Rosselkhoznadzor confirmed that it was ready to answer all the EU questions and as well as to present newly adopted Russia’s rules of regionalization for infectious animal diseases and compartmentalization rules at the WTO SPS Committee in Geneva and then to submit them to DG SANTE.

In conclusion, the sides discussed Russia’s intention to update Register of establishments and individuals producing, processing and (or) storing regulated products imported to the CU customs territory and having formal access to the Russian market, however, some of the listed establishments have either never supplied Russia or have not supplied for a long time, i.e. they simply do not have positive trade history supported by lab monitoring results or positive border control.

The Rosselkhoznadzor recalled that Russia’s commitment undertaken within its accession to the WTO simplified access to the Russian market for loads of livestock producers based on the assurance of the surveillance authorities that Russian import requirements are fully complied with. Meanwhile, analysis of the above-mentioned Register (Register of establishments and individuals producing, processing and (or) storing regulated products imported to the CU customs territory) revealed that thousands of the listed establishments have never exported to Russia and very likely have not been officially controlled for their compliance with the EAEU veterinary and sanitary requirements. This is proved by results of many inspections carried out by the Rosselkhoznadzor in different countries when up to 70% of the inspected plants did not manage to demonstrate full compliance with the RF import requirements.

Therefore, in order to retain an option of supplying livestock products, also from the countries under Russian counter-sanctions imposed in August, 2014, the exporters should confirm their status of establishments strictly complying with the RF veterinary and sanitary requirements and the veterinary services of the exporting countries should update corresponding guarantees providing to the Rosselkhoznadzor information in compliance with the developed questionnaires.

As It has already been said, it is of primary importance to first update guarantees related to the establishments that have never supplied to Russia, then related to establishments that have not supplied for more than 18 months.

Until the work is completed, the establishments will be listed in the Register with a status mark “no export”. This measure will certainly have no impact on regular suppliers, i.e. no resections will be extended on the current trade.

Responding to the concern expressed by the European Commission that this work could require a lot of time and efforts from the keen exporters, the Russian side pointed out that it is rather flexible about the time limit for submission of the completed questionnaires, the 1st of June, 2017 is set as the first date of submission.

Alongside with it, in case the current sanctions are lifted, the establishments that have timely updated their status in the Register will have a greater advantage, when supplies to Russia are resumed.

In conclusion, the two sides expressed gratitude for a fruitful and effective dialogue and highlighted importance of the joint work between the RF and EU competent authorities, because it provides optimal and equivalent conditions for reciprocal trade. 

 

Mar 13, 2017

Categorys: Veterinary , Events , Administration