Late on Friday 23 September, the Russian Federation filled a notice of appeal, challenging the WTO’s finding that Russia’s 2014 import restrictions on EU pork goes against global trading standards.
The appeal follows an August ruling from WTO’s trade panel that found Russia’s safety and phytosanitary (SPS) measures imposed on the EU is inconsistent with its trading policy.
The WTO found that Russia’s pork import ban is not based on the standards set out by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and is thus inconsistent with WTO policy to base SPS measures on international standards.
What started the ban?
Russia imposed SPS measures on imports of pigs and pork products between January and September 2014, after outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) in eastern Europe. Russia implemented an EU-wide ban on pigs and pork and set up individual bans on Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The ban had a destabilising impact on EU pork trade, with producers left with a massive oversupply of pork and the loss of a market worth €1.4bn.
An appeal from Russia had been widely expected. GlobalmeatNews reported this month that Russia’s government was considering an appeal. The head of the Russian Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitry Monitoring Service (Rosselkhoznadzor), Sergey Dankvert, also slammed the WTO’s report as being “purely political”.
The WTO’s decision on Russia’s appeal will have to be announced within the next three months, according to the body’s rules.
When the appeals process comes to an end, and if the ruling is still favourable to the EU, Russia will have to negotiate a timeframe for compliance that may see trade bans rescinded. If either party refuses to comply, or if either party believes the other is not compliant, the WTO will then have to consider sanctions and or compensation.