Saturday, June 4, 2011

For the EU, the Russian ban on vegetables is contrary to WTO rules

The representative of the European Union (EU) in Russia, Fernando Valenzuela, ruled that the Russian ban on import of vegetables from the EU imposed Thursday, June 2 was against the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which Moscow wants to join this year. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he would "check the validity" of the embargo, but he refused to "poison" its citizens in the name of WTO rules.

"Russia wants, and hopefully will, to join the WTO in the near future," said Valenzuela, adding that "one aspect of the entry into the WTO is a set of rules Sanitary and phytosanitary measures ". However, he said "Ban decided by health authorities in Russia do not respect these rules." "It's a bit surprising to take steps in the opposite direction," he further said.

Russia is the last major economic power not to be integrated into the multilateral trading system. Thursday, Moscow had asked several conditions for the lifting of the embargo. In a statement, the Russian agency for consumer protection claim that "the competent structures" in Germany or the European Union confirms "the grounds of the epidemic" before lifting the import ban.

According to Moscow, the Europeans must also establish how and through what foods the epidemic has spread and determine the origin of food involved. Russia asks also to Europeans to prove that the situation is under control and publish a list of measures that helped stop the spread of the epidemic.

Earlier Thursday, the Commission had called on Moscow to immediately lift the "embargo on all exports of vegetables to the European Union to Russia" and requested "an immediate withdrawal of the measure." European ministers of agriculture will most likely be convened on June 17 in Luxembourg for a special meeting, said on Friday, diplomatic sources.

They should discuss the consequences for fruit and vegetables from the epidemic caused by the deadly bacteria. According to several diplomatic sources, if June 17 is under discussion, the final date should be fixed "by Monday or Tuesday."

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