Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More Questions than Answers - EU / Russia

See Post - 'Don't forget your Toothbrush', for list of questions that our man took to Brussels.
He has returned, with some answers and other questions have been shafted to the Tb ( non) Policy team.

We list the answers so far:

1. Define milk 'products'. (and animal products). How far does the cascade go down? e.g Milk Protein concentrate, lactose, whey powder, gelatin etc.?
"To help exporters, Defra is already seeking clarification to this point from the Commission. Once we have the answer, exporters will be made aware of the definition".

2. 4600 farms have been under restriction this year, with a 20 percent year on year increase forcast under current 'policies'. Will that lead to a two tier market in trade? Separate collections of milk? What are the consequences for those under restriction?
"Reply to be provided by Tb policy division".

3. When a farm is placed under restriction following a positive Tb test, what happens to milk / beef already in the chain of supply to EU orRussia?
" To export to Russia, a farm must have been free of Tb at the time of milk collection for the previous 12 months. As soon as Tb is confirmed, an Official Veterinarian cannot sign the Russian certificate"

4. We export a lot of animal products into the EU. do you condiser it would be risky for those importing our products to continue to do so if they wish to trade with Russia?
" Intra community trade will continue as normal, but trade with other Member States for onward shipment to Russia, will have to accompanied by 'pre-export certification' meeting the Russian conditions. (described above)

5. Commission press release (IP/04/1060 dated 2/9/04) describes 'regionalisation' so that a disease problem in any Member state can be 'isolated', so as not to affect the trade of the whole EU. Is there a danger because of our Tb status we may be so 'isolated'.
"Intra community trade will continue as normal.' Regionalisation' deals manily with 'List A' animal disease - not bovine Tb. Further information see OIE site. http://www.oie.int/eng/maladies/en/classification.htm

6. How can we certify herds free of Paratuberculosis (Johnnes) as we do not test for it?
"A test is available, but the Russian federation only requires absence of clinical signs"

7. What happens to products already in the supply chain?
"Retrospective certification of a manufactured product is not envisaged. Pre-planning will be necessary".

8. What is being done to inform those most affected; dairy companies, exporters and farmers?
" Defra is in contact with Trade Associations and information is available on the Defra web site."

9. Do the Russian dairies, recently cleared to export into the EU meet the same requirements with regard to Tb and other diseases as we have to if we are to export into Russia?
" The EU has model import conditions that all Third Countries have to comply with to import into the community. If the 3 Russian dairies meet these conditions they with be allowed to export to the EU"

10. Do the requirements of the certificate also cover cattle semen exports?
"Not yet".

So there you have it. The two big questions fudged or shafted. On 'cascade' products of both milk and beef, the question is passed back to the Commission. And that usually means - anything they want it to mean.
The two tier market (if indeed there is to be any market for Tb resticted herds?) passed back to the Tb (non) Policy Division, who it might be argued, have got us into this mess in the first place.

For onward export via a third EU country, the ethos of EU inter-community trading is broken, in that the new bi-lateral veterinary certificate accompanies the product from source, and product identity cannot be hidden behind 'added provenance' in another Member state. And 'regionalisation' was specifically referred to in the context of Tb by the Europa press releases, notwithstanding the answer decribing OIE site and 'A' category diseases.

When we receive further information, we will post it.

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