STC Number - 409

Russian Federation import measures

Maintained by: Russian Federation
Raised by: Ukraine
Supported by:
First date raised: June 2016 G/SPS/R/83, paras. 4.2-4.4. See also STC 368.
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally; STC 368
Products covered: 1806 Chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa.; 2501 Salt (including table salt and denatured salt) and pure sodium chloride, whether or not in aqueous solution or containing added anti-caking or free-flowing agents; sea water.
Primary subject keyword: Other concerns
Keywords: Other concerns; Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In June 2016, Ukraine expressed its concerns regarding two specific import measures of the Russian Federation affecting (i) confectionary products; and (ii) edible salt. First, Ukraine recalled that it had previously voiced its concerns regarding the Russian Federation's introduction of Resolution No. 01/8612-13-23 on 29 July 2013, which prohibited imports of Ukrainian confectionary products. Despite the requests by Ukrainian producers for relevant documentation from the Rospotrebnadzor, no official evidence concerning the alleged presence of benzopyrene in milk chocolate had been submitted to Ukraine. Ukraine further noted that the Russian Federation's claim regarding toxic impurities in the confectionary products was subsequently replaced by allegations of violations related to confectionary labelling. Ukraine considered that the unfounded claims could arbitrarily block the imports of Ukrainian products into the Russian Federation and further highlighted that no substantive evidence had been submitted to support the labelling claim. Ukraine noted the impact of the measure on its confectionary exports and also highlighted the changing nature of the types of restrictions placed on various confectionary producers, as well as the rules applied to Ukrainian confectionary products in transit through the Russian Federation to third countries. Despite bilateral consultations, the import restrictions were still in place. Ukraine underscored its various efforts to find a positive solution which had included interventions in the SPS and Agriculture Committees, and the General Council.

Secondly, Ukraine raised its concerns regarding the Russian Federation's prohibition of imports of edible salt, which had been introduced on 26 January 2015, which Ukraine has also raised in the TBT Committee. This measure had directly impacted major Ukrainian edible salt producers and had resulted in a drastic decrease in exports. Ukraine further emphasized that its producers were well established suppliers of high quality edible salt, exporting to the Russian Federation as a primary supplier for many decades and to more than 30 markets, including other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union such as Belarus and Kazakhstan. No similar concerns from these export destinations had been raised. Ukraine noted that no official evidence concerning the alleged breach of import requirements regarding the additive iodine or unacceptable organoleptic indices had been submitted. Ukraine further observed that its examination of Russian import requirements for edible salt and its repeated testing of the targeted product had demonstrated full conformity with the Russian Federation's requirements. These conformity assessment results had been provided to the competent Russian authorities. Ukraine queried the basis for the import restrictions and sought clarification of the perceived non-compliance. Finally, Ukraine requested the Russian Federation to respond, within a reasonable period of time, to the list of detailed questions that it had submitted.

The Russian Federation stated that the legal nature of its imposed measure had been misunderstood and explained that the temporary suspension of the imports of certain Ukrainian products was outside the scope of the SPS Agreement. The measures were related to the long-term detection of labelling violations in certain goods, such as confectionary products, and the fight against deceptive trade practices which violated the Eurasian Economic Union technical regulation requirements on the labelling of food products adopted on 9 December 2011. The Russian Federation indicated that it had responded to Ukraine's concerns in a transparent manner and had informed the competent authorities of the relevant necessary steps. The Russian Federation signalled its willingness to further discuss this issue.