The National Pork Producers Council and its state affiliate organizations have asked the administration to slow the World Trade Organization accession process for the Russian Federation until U.S. pork plants are re-listed and Russia signs an "equivalence" agreement with the United States. Over the past year, Russia has "de-listed" or failed to re-list 34 U.S. pork production, processing and storage facilities, meaning 40-50% of all U.S. pork production is ineligible for export to the country.
Russia did not identify any health or sanitary reasons for its actions, which are contrary to obligations contained in a 2006 WTO side agreement. The agreement established specific criteria and methods for Russian approval of U.S. pork plants. The actions also are inconsistent with the WTO's Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement.
"If Russia wants to join the WTO, it needs to play by the rules and stop its blatant actions to restrict U.S. pork," said NPPC President Don Butler. "U.S. pork plants produce the safest product in the world, and they are inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Russia should accept our inspection system as being at least as good as its system."
The organization also urged the President to withhold Permanent Normal Trade Relations status from Russia until the country recognizes the U.S. plant inspection system as equivalent to its system.