Russian ban on EU pork is illegal, WTO rules

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled Friday that a Russian ban on pork imports from the European Union is in violation of its rules, coming down against Moscow for the second time this month in complaints brought by Brussels.

Relations between Russia and the EU have plummeted over Moscow's 2014 invasion of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is accused of supporting separatists.

Friday's ruling relates to a Russian decision in early 2014 to close its market to live pigs and pork products from the EU, after cases of African swine fever were detected in wild boars on the Lithuanian and Polish borders with Belarus.

At the time, Russia accounted for almost 25 per cent of EU pork exports, according to the European Commission.

Brussels argued that the move was unjustified and breached Russia's commitments to the WTO, which Moscow joined in 2012. The EU asked the Geneva-based trade body to weigh in on the matter in June 2014, following unsuccessful mediation efforts.

A WTO panel came to the conclusion Friday that the EU-wide export ban - as well as bans against Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland - is inconsistent with several of its rules.

"Today's ruling confirms that the measures taken by Russia against the EU have little to do with any real sanitary or health risks," the commission said in a statement, adding that the findings "remind Russia about its international obligations."

Moscow has since imposed a sweeping import ban on EU agricultural goods, in response to sanctions imposed by Brussels over its actions in eastern Ukraine.

Russia can appeal the WTO ruling within the next 60 days.

Last update: Fri, 19/08/2016 - 18:43
Author: 

More from World

Park says she won't immediately resign if impeached by parliament

Embattled South Korean President Park Geun Hye said that if impeached by parliament later this week, she would wait...

Number of southern Africans needing aid rises by one million

The number of people in southern Africa needing food aid and related assistance has risen by more than a million to...

Five dead and six missing in latest Chinese coal mine accident

At least five people have died in China's fifth coal mining accident in five weeks, officials told the Xinhua news...

Russia: US "changed their mind" on talks to withdraw Aleppo rebels

The fate of an effort to withdraw Western-backed rebels out of the wartorn Syrian city of Aleppo was up in the air...

Turkey has killed 163 Syrians trying to cross border, report says

Turkish troops have deliberately killed Syrian civilians trying to flee conflict and cross the border to safety, a...