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Results of Talks between Sergey Dankvert and Ladislav Miko, Deputy Director General of Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO)

The meeting between Sergey Dankvert, Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, and Ladislav Miko, Deputy Director General of Directorate Federal for Health and Consumers DG SANCO, was held on the initiative of the Russian party on the 16th of December, 2013.

The parties discussed ways of solution of problematic issues related to mutual product supplies and restrictions imposed by the Russian Federation on import of seed and ware potato as well as planting material.

The major issue of the agenda was discussion of outcomes of inspections conducted by the Customs Union specialists at the EU animal product establishments in 2013.

The Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor mentioned that cases of adulteration of animal products exported to Russia have become more frequent. For instance, the last case – three vehicles with pig hearts adulterated with pork from Germany. Also the number of violations on the border in case of product export from the EU to the Customs Union has increased. It is important that the European Commission takes all necessary measures to prevent adulteration of products exported to the Customs Union countries. Ladislav Miko draw attention to the fact that responsibility for food product safety provision belongs to the National Veterinary Services of the EU countries and the European Commission is responsible for general surveillance and for coordination of activities of the EU Veterinary Services.

Ladislav Miko told that a working group that will deal with issues related to fraud in food product sector is being established under the Directorate.

Sergey Dankvert mentioned that it is necessary to work out approaches to the problem solving. Otherwise Russia will take responsibility for animal food product provision limiting the number of border inspection points for products coming from the European Union and introducing 100% product inspection at the border.

It was agreed to prepare preliminary proposition on how to solve these problematic issues on the 24th-27th of December.

Sergey Dankvert was also concerned about Romanian pork supplied to the EU as being rendered in Poland and Germany it will be exported to Russia.

As for the issues concerning possibility to remove temporary restrictions on seed potato export to Russia from the EU Ladislav Miko informed that as a result of work conducted by the European Commission with National Organizations for Quarantine and Plant Protection (NAPPQM) of the EU member-countries minimum information including numbers of seed potato establishments authorized for export in 2013 as well brief information about spread of quarantined for Russia products in the EU countries specifying relevant guarantees for export of safe in phytosanitary terms seed potatoes was published on the websites of these organizations.

Sergey Dankvert mentioned that according to the EC official website responsibility for all the information belongs to National Organizations for Quarantine and Plant Protection (NAPPQM) which gave this information. In this respect coordinating role of the European Commission is not clear. It is also not clear if data published and submitted by the NAPPQM of the EU countries will be controlled. In particular, according to information submitted to the Rosselkhoznadzor by the Dutch Veterinary Authority rates of soil samples for detection of cyst-forming nematode are two times lower which, to our mind, violates provisions of Directive 2007/33/EC.

Besides, such an approach can’t guarantee absence of Pale Cyst Nematode in seed potato consignments exported to Russia. Ladislav Miko stressed that this cases need to be clarified at the expert level. Issues concerning interaction in the field of plant quarantine can be solved by NAPPQM of the EU countries and the Rosselkhoznadzor on a bilateral basis. In case some information turns out to be insufficient it will be possible to request it by means of any official channels including the EU website. The European Commission does not object the Rosselkhoznadzor’s auditing EU systems of phytosanitary control during seed potato production.

In response Sergey Dankvert stresses that auditing the system in each of 28 EU countries will take much time, probably, several years. Despite of that one way to solve the problem of safe seed potato export to Russia can be export of several seed potato consignments inspected both by the Rosselkhoznadzor and NAPPQM of exporting countries on condition that both exporters and exporters express mutual interest. Herewith you should not forget about the necessity to submit information on zones, sites and areas of production which are free from quarantined for Russia products to the Rosselkhoznadzor according to Article 6 of the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and following principals of international standards for phytosanitary measures. Ladislav Miko agreed with expediency of this approach as it is aimed at prevention of additional impediments in international trade.

The participants also discussed an issue related to signing a document formulizing interactions between Rosselkhoznadzor, European Commission and NAPPQM of the EU member-countries. The idea to issue such a document was outspoken by the European Commission in August-September 2013. Ladislav Miko specified that the draft document prepared by the Rosselkhoznadzor is being reviewed by the EU member-countries.

Besides, on the initiative of the French and Czech parties Sergey Dankvert conducted bilateral meetings with Ms Emmanuelle Soubeyran, Head of the French NPPO, and Mr Miroslav Toman, Czech Minister of Agriculture.

Ms Emmanuelle Soubeyran raised an issue concerning temporary restrictions on export of seed and ware potatoes to the Russian Federation as well as data reporting form for removal of the specified restrictions. Sergey Dankvert summed up the outcomes of the negotiations with Ladislav Miko and mentioned that in the present time there is no information concerning zones, sites and areas of potato production which are free from quarantined for Russia objects. He also informed the French party about the necessity to submit this information according to International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures in the quickest possible time and underlined the importance to present ways of how to deal with the problem agreed upon with Ladislav Miko.

During negotiations with Mr Miroslav Toman, Czech Minister of Agriculture, the Russian party mentioned the increase in detections of quarantined objects in quarantineable products imported from the Czech Republic. Thus, in 2013 there were 204 detections of quarantined for Russia objects in products imported from the Czech Republic which makes up 70% of their total quantity since 2005. Such an abrupt jump of quarantine object detections together with Czech NAPPQM failure to take measures to prevent reoccurrence of such cases put in doubt the efficacy of the Czech phytosanitary control system. Weakening of the control system leads to the situation when unscrupulous bidders purchase knowingly cheap affected (including quarantine objects) plants in order to export them to Russia. In this connection the Rosselkhoznadzor provided the Czech party  with all available materials in order to conduct an official investigation.

Besides, Sergey Dankvert asked Mr Miroslav Toman to submit a list of zones, sites and areas of potato production which are free from quarantined for Russia products to the Rosselkhoznadzor in order to consider the issue concerning permission to export several seed potato consignments from the Czech Republic to Russia. 

Dec 17, 2013

Categorys: Harmonization CU/EU , Administration , Veterinary , Customs Union , Import. Export. Transit