Spotlight thrown on protectionist Russian import ban

21-Mar-2013 @ 12:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

The controversial issue of a planned Russian import ban on agricultural goods was raised today by Conservative MEP Robert Sturdy today inthe European Parliament in Brussels.

Mr Sturdy, International Trade Committee spokesman onEU-Russia trade relations, attacked the proposed ban on imports of seed potatoesas "naked protectionism" and "entirely unwarranted".

The Eastern Region MEP's intervention came during an "in camera" session of the committee with the European Commission's Director Generalfor Trade Jean-Luc Demarty.

He said there was no justification for the proposed ban and he called on the Commission to take firm action against it.

Moscow is planning to ban the import of seed potatoes andother plant products from June 1 on the basis of "a lack of information"regarding the phytosanitary conditions of potato cultivation in the EU.

The EU exports 21,000 tonnes of seed potatoes annually to Russia, with about 5,000 tonnes coming from the United Kingdom
After raising the issue with the Director General, Mr Sturdy said: "The supposed grounds for this ban do not stand up to scrutiny. They are entirely unwarranted and what we are looking at is naked protectionism, pure andsimple.

"The Russians must not be allowed to get away with it. As members of the World Trade Organisation they now have a duty to play by its rules. I shall be looking to the EU and Mr Demarty's department at theCommission to apply the appropriate pressure to prevent this damaging ban going ahead."

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