An urgent solution is being sought by the European Commission to difficulties arising from a blanket ban imposed by the Russian Federation on pigmeat imports from the EU.
The Russian market for Irish pork is extremely important, with exports in 2013 of about 20,000 tonnes (66.5% higher than 2012) and a value of €55m.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney told TD Michael Healy Rae in a written reply to a Dáil question the Russian Federation is one of Ireland’s largest non-EU pigmeat markets.
The strong 2013 sales performance contributed greatly to the rise in value of overall pigmeat exports by 3% in 2013 to €525m.
Mr Coveney explained that in January 2014 the Lithuanian authorities discovered two cases of African swine fever in wild boar near its border with Belarus. Lithuania put in place the required disease control measures and informed fellow member states and the European Commission of the outbreak. The Commission informed the OIE, the international organisation for animal health.
He said the Commission proposed to provisionally exclude the affected region in Lithuania from exporting pigs and pigmeat to other countries including Russia.
This would have the effect of regionalising the outbreak and allowing other EU member states not affected by disease to trade freely.
However, the Russian Federation and Customs Union imposed a ban on all exports of pigs, pigmeat and pigmeat products from the EU certified after January 26, 2013.
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