Russia is considering banning all meat imports from Brazil and Argentina, due to their poor monitoring of quality compliance, the country’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) has said.
During negotiations with Brazilian animal and plant protection secretary Enio Marques Pereira, head of Rosselkhoznadzor Sergei Dankvert said: “Rosselkhoznadzor considers the possibility of expanding the list of Brazilian companies certified to export to Russia as very problematic, because of the lack of guarantees provided by the Veterinary Service of Brazil.
“During the inspections conducted in 2010 and 2011, Russian veterinary experts gave a negative assessment to the majority of inspected enterprises in Brazil. It is possible that, by the end of the next inspection in Brazil, we could introduce new restrictions on the supply of products from the remaining states.”
Russian veterinarians are due to conduct inspections in mid-May in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Goias.
“It should be noted that the inefficiency of the veterinary services in Brazil makes it impossible to resolve issues arising with companies that supply meat products to the Russian market in a rapid and expeditious manner.
“In particular, the Veterinary Service does not inform the companies of the results of the inspections carried out by Rosselkhoznadzor. This situation greatly complicates the development of trade and economic relations between Russia and Brazil in the sphere of trade of products under supervision of the state veterinary services,” added Dankvert.
He also noted that the quality requirements for the Veterinary Service of Brazil would increase considerably on the eve of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization.
According to Rosselkhoznadzor, in 2011 Brazil supplied 227,000 tonnes (t) of beef to Russia, down 19% from 2010; 134,000t of pork (-40%); and 70,000t of poultry meat (-50%). By June this year, supplies of meat from Brazil could be completely stopped.
Argentinean imports "unprofitable"
Preliminary estimates show that for the first quarter of 2012, shipments of meat from Argentina to Russia dropped significantly (-45% compared to 2010). According to Dankvert, in addition to the lack of control on product quality, one of the main factors hampering trade with this country is the general unprofitability of exports. “The existing mechanisms of export supplies and application of administration methods to the shipments of such products significantly reduces the investment attractiveness of Argentina,” he said.
Meanwhile, the deliveries of Uruguayan beef to Russia increased from 3,000t to 78,000t between 2005 and 2011, making it the fastest-growing market for Russian meat imports.
Currently, 82 Uruguayan enterprises are authorised to supply beef and mutton to Russia and other countries of the Customs Union, and according to Dankvert, none of them have shown problems in product safety studies. Uruguay now intends to gain shares from the Brazilian, Argentinian, but also Paraguayan markets, after restrictions were imposed on beef exports from the country last autumn. Paraguay was previously one of Russia’s major markets with nearly 40,000t shipped between January and August 2011.