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Efforts Continue to Restore Market Access for Pork

by 5m Editor
24 February 2010, at 9:46am

US - Efforts to resume US pork exports to Russia got a boost last week from face-to-face discussions in Moscow between US industry representatives and Russia’s top veterinary officials.

With only a handful of US facilities still eligible to export pork to Russia, US pork exports have been effectively shut down for several weeks. Formal negotiations are continuing between the governments of the United States and Russia, but the Moscow meeting provided an opportunity for the pork industry to voice its position on a number of key issues.

USMEF Senior Vice President Thad Lively headed the US industry delegation, which included representatives of 13 US companies. The Russian team was headed by Dr Nikolay Vlasov, Russia’s chief veterinary officer.

Mr Lively reports that US and Russian officials are very close to finalising an agreement on a new pork health certificate, which would remove one of the obstacles that has interrupted pork trade. The governments have also reached agreement on a new system, to be managed by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, for approving US pork processing plants for export to Russia. Lively is also optimistic about gaining reinstatement for US plants that were delisted because of their failure to pass an audit conducted by Russia in late 2008.

Some US pork plants have also been delisted due to documentation errors discovered upon arrival of products shipped to Russia. Mr Lively said recommendations for addressing documentation errors will be developed in coming weeks, and a proposal based on those recommendations will be presented to Russian officials.

Despite recent speculation that the US beef industry may lose access to Russia, Mr Lively said no trade interruptions have surfaced to date with regard to beef exports.

You can listen to Thad Lively's discussion on the Moscow pork meeting by clicking here.