The 80th meeting of the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures was held on July 14 -16. The Rosselkhoznadzor representatives took part in the meeting.
WTO member countries (Canada, USA, Australia, India, Russia, EU countries, Japan, Great Britain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Kenya) continue to express concern over Chinese sanitary measures aimed at holding back the COVID-19 spread.
In their opinion, the measures applied by China (requirements for testing and disinfection of imported food products, a ban on import in case of positive test results for the presence of coronavirus traces on the packaging, suspension of imports from specific facilities) are excessive, non-transparent and not based on scientific data, since there is no scientific evidence that food products, packaging and vehicles can serve as a source of virus transmission.
The Chinese side explained that it observes the WHO recommendations on prevention of coronavirus infection spread and, as of June 22 of this year, 26 positive test results for the presence of virus traces detected in 17 batches of fish and marine products (both on the outer and the inner packaging) were received. Therefore, although to date China has not provided a scientific evidence for the application of these measures, decrease in the level of control of goods imported to China can't be expected yet.
Trade concerns remain regarding the updated EU requirements for the import of composite products. The main objections of the WTO member countries (Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, Malaysia, the USA, Russia) are related to the tightening of EU requirements for low-risk products, regardless of the content rate of components of animal origin. In particular, the requirements for certification of establishments that produce raw materials for composite products exported to the EU, and the need for accompanying documentation for low-risk products results in additional business costs and creates trade barriers.
The EU reminded that the requirements for the import of composite products have a scientific basis, and low-risk products shall be exempted from border control and accompanied by a certificate of private attestation.
Nevertheless, the European Commission evaluates the comments received recently and is considering the possibility of simplifying the requirements for composite products containing gelatin and collagen, if these are the only meat products in the composition.
Up-to-date information on the requirements for the import of composite products to the EU is available on the website of the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/international_affairs/trade/special-eu-import-conditions-composite-products_en.
After a long break, the European Union once again voiced its trade concern over Russian restrictions on supplies from fish processing establishments in Estonia and Latvia, which were imposed in connection with the detected incompliances in the fish product safety control system after inspections conducted by the Rosselkhoznadzor in 2015 in Latvia and in 2016 in Estonia.
Responding to the measures taken by the competent authorities, the Rosselkhoznadzor lifted temporary restrictions on one Estonian fish factory (in 2016) and one Latvian establishment (in 2019) based on the results of repeated inspections.
The Russian Federation once again joined the EU concerns regarding South Korea's restrictions on pork and poultry imports due to ASF and avian influenza, respectively. The representative of Russia noted that the Russian side had forwarded all the necessary information to conduct a risk assessment and recognize the regionalization of the territory of the Russian Federation with regard to avian influenza and ASF.
However, the position of the Korean colleagues remains unchanged: the issue of admission of pork and poultry to the Korean market can be considered after the improvement of the epidemic situation throughout Russia, despite the fact that the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code allows import of products from infected regions in case of compliance with international regionalization standards.
A number of questions were voiced to the Malaysian side. The representative of the Russian delegation, noting the insignificant progress in cooperation with the competent service of Malaysia, stressed that the Rosselkhoznadzor is still expecting the approval of veterinary certificates (for pork, poultry, beef and dairy products). The Malaysian side did not provide answers on the issue of recognizing the avian influenza regionalization of the territory of Russia, or access of poultry products to the Malaysian market, despite the updated materials provided by the Rosselkhoznadzor on control and eradication measures with regard to this disease.
The Russian side once again raised the issue of Russian livestock product supplies to India. Currently, there is no decision of the Indian side on recognizing the avian influenza regionalization of the territory of the Russian Federation and on the possibility of exporting safe poultry products to India, although the Indian veterinary service received all the necessary materials. It was noted that the procedure for approving veterinary certificates for the supply of Russian poultry meat and products thereof (offal), as well as fish products to India is being delayed.
The Indian representatives raised the issue of the procedure used in Russia to obtain the approval for export of fish and fish products to the territory of the Russian Federation. The Russian side reported that the inclusion of new foreign establishments in the register of companies approved for product supplies to Russia is possible if relevant inspections are conducted and the current list of suppliers is updated. However, no response to the previously sent proposals was received from the Indian side.
Trade concern was expressed due to the lack of progress in terms of access of Russian beef and pork to the Philippine market.
The Philippine side did not provide its assessment review of the materials sent by the Russian side on the epidemic situation under control in the Russian Federation and measures for the prevention of ASF, lumpy skin disease and BSE.
The competent authority of the Philippines does not respond to the proposals of the Rosselkhoznadzor to hold bilateral meetings, even though these issues were discussed on the sidelines of the 79th SPS Committee with a representative of the mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the WTO.
In addition, the representatives of the Rosselkhoznadzor held bilateral meetings with the representatives of Singapore and Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the 80th SPS Committee, during which they discussed issues of access for Russian livestock products.