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Friday, May 26, 2006

Welcome to the Neo-Soviet World Where Lies are Policy

A European food industry website reports that Russia is conducting a food regulatory policy based on absurd lies designed to advance a political agenda. Remember, the Russians who are so concerned about the safety of incoming food have the shortest lifespan of anyone in Europe and any food item produced in Russia may be adulterated with many different types of pollution. Welcome to back to the USSR! If Russians didn't learn that lies won't work as policy when the first USSR failed, they never will.

Russia faking food safety concerns, warns EU

26/05/2006 - Russia is now playing political games with its import ban on Polish meat and vegetables, says the European Commission, warning other member states to tread carefully.Russia's ban on meat and plant products from Poland has become a political matter, Markos Kyprianou, European commissioner for health and consumer protection, told agriculture ministers from the 25 EU states this week.

“Poland has met all the technical requirements legitimately raised by the Russian authorities. Further measures required by Russia go beyond Poland's powers and go against previous agreements with Russia,” Philip Todd, spokesperson for Kyprianou, told
The move indicates the Commission is losing patience with Russia, amid concerns the latter has increasingly used food safety to erect trade barriers.

Commissioner Kyprianou warned Europe's agriculture ministers not to “give any kind of reason to Russia to impose a ban”, adding that export controls may need to be strengthened.
Russia has imposed several import bans over the last year, citing food safety concerns, with the most recent coming against Moldovan and Georgian wine.

Russia banned imports of Polish meat last November, following this up with a complete ban on agricultural products. It banned Polish dairy imports the year before that.
Poland normally exports around eight per cent of its yearly agricultural produce to Russia, for around €347m.

Representatives from Poland's new government this week launched an angry tirade against the ongoing import ban at a meeting with agriculture ministers from EU member states. They called again for a united EU front against Russia's political games.

The Commission has already held various discussions with Russia on the issue of food import bans over the last couple of months.

It has so far avoided escalating the dispute, preferring instead to rely on its powers of persuasion. That may change if Russia does not budge, however.

Commission spokesperson Todd said the bloc has insisted that Russia complies with the import regime set down by the World Trade Organisation. “Beyond that, all we can do is raise the issue in a political context,” he said.

Todd confirmed the matter would be pursued further by European trade commissioner Peter Mandelson, although the import ban against Poland was not on the official agenda for Thursday's EU-Russia summit.

The EU now has more than a €50bn trade deficit with Russia, although Russia remains the bloc's third largest trade partner, according to Commission figures.

Poland has been trying to make up for lost trade with Russia by selling more in other neighbouring countries, the country's Ministry of Agriculture told Cee-FoodIndustry recently.

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