Russia intends to raise possible ban of potato supplies from EU from July 1

Moscow intends to raise the issue of a possible ban on potato supplies from the European Union at the 57th meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, Rosselkhoznadzor, intends to raise the issue of a possible ban on potato supplies from the European Union at the 57th meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS measures), which will be held in Geneva on June 27-28, the Russian watchdog told Interfax.

Experts will also attend a number of bilateral meetings on the SPS measures. The Russian delegation will be headed by Rosselkhoznadzor Deputy Chief Nikolai Nepoklonov.

The decision to attend this event was made amid the fact that Russia has issues with some WTO members, in particular on potato supplies.

The Russian watchdog said that the ban of potato supplies from the EU from July 1 "is indeed visible."

It has been reported that Rosselkhoznadzor initially planned to introduce the ban from June 1, 2013 but the timeline was later moved to July 1.

Rosselkhoznadzor Chief Sergei Dankvert has told Interfax that the final decision on introducing limitations would depend on the measures the EU was taking to ensure security of potato and other plant supplies to Russia. Dankvert said that it was necessary to take into account the fact that in 2000 the EU banned supplies of Russian planting materials without scientific or technical grounds and did not explain this measures despite numerous requests.

Rosselkhoznadzor's attempts to obtain information from the EU on the disease- and blast-free zones in the EU member-states fell short. Providing this information is stipulated in relevant international standards on phytosanitary measures.

According to Rosselkhoznadzor, when holding quarantine phytosanitory control of potatoes brought to Russia from Germany, Belgium, the UK, Spain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Finland, France and the Czech Republic since 2010 until now, three types of quarantine forms were found in over 100 cases - golden nematode, potato moth and potato root eelworm.

Attempts to bring in almost 12,000 tonnes of infected European potatoes to Russia were prevented this time. The largest amount (45 percent or 5,200 tonnes) was exported from the Netherlands.

The supplies of infected potatoes from EU members to Russia have become systemic, the Russian watchdog said.

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