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Foreign Trade Ministers Discussed Russian Plan to Ban Live Animal Imports from European Union


No. 71-E

At the meeting of the European Union Trade Council in Brussels today, attendees discussed Russia’s plan to ban live animal imports from the European Union as of 20 March, based on the claim that they do not meet Russian import requirements.

Estonian Ambassador to the European Union Matti Maasikas, who represented Estonia at the Council, said that the ban on live animal imports, which is partially based on the results of an inspection in Estonia, is not justified. “In addition, Russia stated its intention to implement a ban on 2 March, when the inspection in Estonia was still ongoing and its results were not yet clear to anyone,” said Maasikas.

Estonia is satisfied with the European Commission’s active efforts to resolving the problem, on the part of both Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht and Commissioner for Health John Dall, and hopes that it will be possible to prevent the ban from happening. The member states unanimously supported the Commission. Russia is joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and one would expect that it would begin to adhere to the WTO’s rules. “In the current case, according to WTO rules a scientifically grounded evaluation explaining the necessity of the ban would have to be submitted,” Maasikas added.

The ministers also discussed the conclusion of free trade agreements with India and Japan. Negotiations are currently underway with India and there are hopes to conclude talks within this year. India is a large and rapidly developing market and a free trade agreement would significantly improve European Union companies’ access to that market. Estonia supports the European Commission’s efforts to conclude an agreement that is as comprehensive and ambitious as possible, which would make the European Union’s position in Asia considerably stronger.

Estonia supports completing preparations for negotiations with Japan and starting the official negotiations as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled. Japan is a strategic trade partner of the European Union – it has a rich market and is the third-largest economy in the world, but currently there are significant trade barriers. Estonia also supports rapid progress in negotiations for a free trade agreement with Singapore and the rapid implementation of the agreements with Columbia and Peru that are currently being signed. 

Other topics under discussion at the Trade Council were agreements for the protection of investments with third countries, goods from developing countries having easier access to the EU market, the EU’s approach to trade and development topics over the next decade, the intensification and development of trade relations between the European Union and the USA, and the current status of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, as the European Commission explained why it sent a request to get the opinion of the Court of Europe.
Additional information:
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

+372 637 7654



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