Speaking to us at Sial Paris, Canada Pork International president Jacques Pomerleau, said the ban would not last forever, and he believed it could be lifted in the next couple of months. However, he explained that Russia had caused problems for his sector, and the latest sanctions would only make international producers more hesitant to deal with Russia when the ban was lifted.
"It is the third time in four years that Russia has closed its doors to us. People will be careful before dealing with them again. You can be burnt once, but it’s hard being burnt three times. To build a plan with Russia is like building on quick sand," he said.
Russia has taken issue with Canadian meat in other instances in recent years, including a ban on chilled meat in 2013, claiming it was receiving meat with traces of the veterinary drug ractopamine in it.
Pomerleau continued: "You never know what will hit you. The veterinary services are very difficult (in Russia). We are export-dependent and the customer is always right – they have very strict requirements."
Canada is the third-largest global pork exporter, accounting for 20% of world pork exports. It exports over 50% of its total pork production to more than 100 countries around the world. Pomerleau said: "We will be a bit more attentive to the signals in the future", he added.
He explained that losing the Russian business meant adapting and opening up new markets. Canada Pork is in discussions concerning free trade agreements with South Korea, while he added that China has "become our third-largest export market".
The prevention of porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) is also of the utmost importance to Canada Pork, after the virus caused a significant shortfall in US pork production.