08:53 GMT15 April 2021
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    The World Trade Organization (WTO) decision to support the European Union in its trade dispute with Russia over Moscow's ban on the import of pork products from the bloc due to concerns over African swine fever is politically motivated, the head of Russia's agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor Sergei Dankvert said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, a WTO panel said it found Russia's blanket ban on EU pork imports to be inconsistent with a number of WTO articles as well as the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement (SPS). The panel said that the ban was discriminatory and in excess of what is required to reach appropriate levels of protection, as well as stating that a ban on certain products from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland is inconsistent with international animal health standards.

    "We are going in our own direction, there is nothing terrible about this, someone always wins and loses. Given the conditions with pressure being applied on Russia, I never doubted that the decision would be [anything but] solely political, the same as with the doping [scandal]," Dankvert told RIA Novosti.

    African swine fever, which has recently emerged in Poland and the Baltic states, is likely to spread further across the continent within a year, he added, stressing that this was Russia's chief concern when imposing the import ban.

    Rosselkhoznadzor banned pork imports from EU member states in January, 2014, after an outbreak of the disease was recorded among pigs in Lithuania. Another outbreak has been recorded in Poland. Russia requested guarantees from EU authorities, which responded by calling the ban excessive and asked the WTO to form a panel to resolve the dispute.


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