Back to the future in Russia

With the latest developments in Russia and the ban on food imports from the EU, the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway, we have an example of how the Russian economy can be thrown off course by political events. The economy will not develop properly until politicians stop meddling with markets. As far as pork is concerned Russia imports about a quarter of its pigmeat needs and this ban will hit some of the world’s big pork exporters – but it could hurt Russians much more than the exporting countries in the short run and it’s safe to predict the Continue reading

Will America’s PEDv stymie President Putin’s EU pork ban?

A month or so ago the Russian ban on imports of pork from the EU looked like it might hit Europe’s pig producers very hard indeed. Around 25% of the EU’s exports of pigmeat are destined for Russia in an average week so the sudden cessation of this trade on the pretext of finding African Swine Fever (ASF) in a few wild boars in Lithuania and Poland would be expected to  have a very depressing effect on prices. And indeed this was the initial impact. But then Continue reading

Russia’s influence on the global pork trade

One British Prime Minister was once quoted as saying that, “a week is a long time in politics”. Right now it seems that a week is a very long time in the global pork trade….. Continue reading

Russia reminds the USA that choice matters

The USDA has announced that it will support a new certification system for US livestock that guarantees that meat produced under this standard will never have been fed beta agonists (growth hormones) such as ractopamine.  Companies can meet the requirements of the “Never Fed Beta Agonists” marketing claim under either a USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) or the USDA Quality System Assessment (QSA) Program. Beef and pigmeat and meat products derived from animals that comply Continue reading

Russia’s Christmas present for US exporters

When a story gets into the Wall Street Journal we all take note.  And the report by Kelsey Gee and Bill Tomson at the weekend that Russia wants all US pork exports to Russia to be certified free of ractopamine made the market take note – hog futures fell. According to the Wall Street Journal the absence of a residue testing programme for ractopamine by the USDA would mean that all US pork exports to Russia are effectively halted. This is not the first time that ractopamine has got in the way of smooth trade flows between Russia and the USA – and between the USA and other countries. If you believe that “the customer is always right”, there is only one thing to say. Get a residue testing programme in place – quick. That might fly in the face of WTO-purists who would argue that the WYO has accepted that small amounts of ractopamine residues in meat export products are OK. But any appeal to the WTO and, eventually, an appeal to the disputes settlement body would take months and years. Much longer than it might take to set up a ractopamine testing system for exports.

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