Published 03:05 March 10, 2007
Updated 03:05 March 10, 2007
The Russian Federal Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Control Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) has received confirmation from the European Commission that EU officials are ready to come to Moscow on March 12 for talks on exports of Polish meat and other agricultural products to Russia.
Experts are expected to discuss technical issues on March 12, a
Rosselkhoznadzor spokesman told Interfax. Senior officials are to meet on March 13 to discuss the results of veterinary and phyto-sanitary inspections conducted by Russian specialists in Poland, he said.
The talks are expected to involve acting head of the EU Health and
Consumer Protection Directorate General Paola Testori Coggi, head of the European Commission’s delegation to Russia Mark Franco and Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergei Dankvert.
The European delegation to the meetings will also include officials from Germany, which currently holds the EU presidency, and Poland.
Apart from the Polish problem, European officials propose discussing Russia‘s request calling on EU member-nations to present information on the results of last year’s monitoring of prohibited and hazardous substances remaining in animals’ blood, livestock products and food and plans for a similar monitoring effort in 2007, the spokesman said.
Russia wants to receive this information before March 31, he said.
Russia‘s request followed a demand from the European Commission’s Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General giving
Rosselkhoznadzor until March 31, 2007, to forward a 2006 report and a plan for this year’s measures to control the amount of hazardous substances remaining in livestock products exported to the EU.
The European Commission, however, warned that Russia may lose its status of an exporter of livestock to EU member-nations and may be excluded from the EU’s appropriate register if it fails to provide the requested information before March 31. Rosselkhoznadzor, for its part, cautioned that it may suspend deliveries of livestock products from EU member-nations that will not provide the information requested by Russia.
European Commission representatives also want the March 12-13 negotiations in Moscow to address ways to harmonize trade in livestock products between Russia and the EU and the need to step up the activities of a task force in charge of countering fraud in meat trade.
In the autumn of 2005, Russia banned the export of agricultural products from Poland, accusing it of violating veterinary and phyto- sanitary requirements, including during the re-export of meat from countries that had been banned from selling such products to Russia.
Poland responded in late 2006 by blocking the beginning of EU-Russia negotiations on a new cooperation and partnership agreement.
Russian-Polish talks on resuming the export of meat and other agricultural products proved fruitless. However, Russian Agriculture
Minister Alexei Gordeyev and European Commissioner Marcos Kyprianou agreed during their meeting in Berlin in mid-January that Russia would continue talks on deliveries of Polish meat and other agricultural products with the European Commission.