STC Number - 372

Russian restrictions on imports of certain types of plant products

Maintained by: Russian Federation
Raised by: European Union
Supported by:
First date raised: July 2014 G/SPS/R/75 paras. 4.3 - 4.4
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/RUS/69
Products covered: 06 Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage; 07 Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Plant health
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

The European Union expressed its concern regarding Russia's restrictions on EU exports of potatoes and certain other plant products. Since 1 July 2013, a ban had been imposed on the exports of several plant products on the basis of a limited number of interceptions of harmful organisms. In 2014, after having conducted inspections in several EU member States, Russia had allowed the import of seed potatoes and some other plants from some member States. The European Union considered this a positive step, but voiced concern on the need for clarity in the import requirements for these commodities and consistency in their application to all EU exporters. A complete ban, however, was still in place on imports of EU ware potatoes. The European Union considered the ban to be of a discriminatory nature as similar measures were not imposed on ware potato imports from other trading partners, many of which did not have the same high phytosanitary status as the European Union and hence presented higher phytosanitary risks. The European Union urged Russia to clarify the manner in which phytosanitary import requirements were defined and enforced for similar products of different origins. The European Union further indicated its willingness to engage in technical discussions on any guarantees deemed necessary to resume its exports.

Russia clarified that its restrictions did not apply to potted plants grown in greenhouses or to pre-base planting materials. Quarantined organisms in plant products imported from EU member States had been detected on a regular basis, originating mostly from Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain. Following several efforts to assist the European Union in eliminating the identified noncompliances, Russia had introduced temporary restrictions on the imports of seed and ware
potatoes and planting materials on 1 July 2013, which were subsequently notified to the WTO. Russia was concerned about the level of coordination between the European Union and national organizations responsible for plant protection and the manner in which inspections were undertaken, which were not in accordance with ISPMs. The existing situation, including the lack of EU compliance with Russia's phytosanitary standards, did not permit the lifting of the temporary
measures. Russia acknowledged the complexity of the current situation, and voiced its willingness to consult with the European Union and work within the framework of the pre-shipment inspection scheme, used in previous years, in order to address and solve the current problem in an expeditious manner.