Weekly Overview: WTO Rules Against Russia's Embargo on EU Pigs, Pork

ANALYSIS - In the news this week, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has declared that Russia's ban on the import of pig and pork products from the EU is illegal and in breach of WTO rules and should be lifted.
calendar icon 30 August 2016
clock icon 3 minute read

Russia originally placed the import ban on the EU in 2014 following concerns over the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), saying that the EU was not doing enough to stop the spread.

At the time, ASF outbreaks were only being reported in a few countries, close to the border with Belarus.

The WTO Panel has therefore found that the EU-wide import ban violates the rules of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement).

Individual bans placed on imports from Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia also received the same criticism from the panel.

Despite the WTO's findings, most of the products involved in this trade ban still cannot be exported to Russia due to Russia's politically motivated trade ban on EU agriculture products.

Copa and Cogeca also noted that: "Russian authorities are likely to appeal against the ruling in the next 60 days which means that farmers may not see the benefits of it before 2018.”

Also this week, there have been an array of advancements in pig health. Firstly, a new vaccine has been developed for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) in Canada.

The vaccine has been developed by scientists at the University of Saskatchewan and has demonstrated the ability to protect up to 100 per cent of piglets.

Scientists at The Pirbright Institute in the UK have been busy developing a new inexpensive test for diagnosing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The scientists used a truncated bovine integrin αvβ6 in their diagnostic tests which all FMD virus types would bind to.

The researchers have been able to create large amounts of bovine integrin αvβ6 in the lab using a rapid technique called ‘transient cell transfection’. This could make diagnosis of FMD strains cheaper and easier, as only one integrin would be needed to identify all strains of the FMD virus, compared to the many antibodies that were needed previously.

In other news, a further case of swine dysentery has been detected in Yorkshire, UK. It is the second case to be reported in Yorkshire in a few weeks.

AHDB Pork is advising producers to increase vigilance for the development of clinical signs of disease within their herd.

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