It was announcewd Friday that Russia will re-open their market to U.S. pork. In 2009, Russia had delisted virtually all U.S. pork facilities, prohibiting them from shipping pork to the country.

“We are very pleased that Russia is re-opening its market to U.S. pork; it’s a very important destination for our products,” said NPPC President Don Butler. “NPPC also is very appreciative of the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative in getting this deal done.”

In 2008, the United States shipped $476 million of pork to Russia, making that country the No. 5 market. Last year they fell to $289 million because of a several-months ban on U.S. pork over concerns about the H1N1 flu, the global economic downturn and Russia delisting a number of U.S. pork facilities.

The United States agreed to develop a new veterinary certificate to ensure that U.S. pork exports meet specific Russian microbiological and tetracycline-group antibiotic residue requirements. U.S. plants that want to export to Russia must apply for approval with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

AMS, in collaboration with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, has developed an Export Verification (EV) program for pork going to Russia to address specific product requirements.

“Our pork meets U.S. and international standards, so we did not see the need for the EV program,” said Butler. “But the Russians wanted the program, and we wanted to get back in the market.

“And while the re-opening of the Russian market is great news for our producers, we now need to get China to re-open its market to U.S. pork.”

China closed its market to U.S. pork in late April after the initial reports on the H1N1 flu outbreak. “We’re losing pork sales to Canada and the European Union,” said Butler. “We need to get back into the Chinese market.”

Source: NPPC