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Russia imposes ban on German chilled meats

By Vladislav Vorotnikov , 23-Jan-2013

Russia has banned imports of all chilled pork, beef and poultry from Germany, the country’s veterinary services announced this week.

Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said the ban would come into effect on 4 February 2013.

Spokesperson Alexei Alekseenko explained the ban was being imposed because the Russian veterinary services were unhappy with the way that the German veterinary services were operating. “In the case of Germany, we are talking about chilled products, the export of which is associated with increased risk [of veterinary rules violation],” he told press.

“The guarantees on the safety of imported products are given by the federal veterinary services of the country, which has a very poor connection with regional veterinary departments. And it is “on the ground” that the main control of the supplied meat is carried out. This situation forces Rosselkhoznadzor to conduct additional laboratory studies, which leads to losses for the state budget. This must be avoided.”

Experts have warned that banning meat from Germany is a risky strategy, given shortages of certain types of meat in Russia, and could drive up prices on the market. Deficits of pork, in particular, have been forecast following the recently imposed restrictions on the importation of pork containing ractopamine, which affected about 42% of pork imports into Russia.

According to Mikhail Grigoryev, an analyst at the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR), Germany is the fifth-largest supplier of pork to Russia. He estimated that pork exports from Germany amounted to about 12% of total Russian imports (excluding imports from other countries in the Customs Union) in 2012.

“If Germany is ‘closed’, the reduction in volume of imported meat could have upward pressure on prices in the domestic market. Since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), the domestic pig sector has become more sensitive to changes in import flows, due to easing of Customs and tariff regulations,” he said.

However, he added that volumes of beef and chicken imported from Germany are insignificant. According to IKAR, German exports of beef and poultry account for only about 1% of Russia’s total import volumes.

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