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Cablegate: Minag Delists 7 U.S. Pork Facilities.

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3473/01 3371353
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021353Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC PRIORITY 5410
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0943
INFO RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 4691
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 5243

UNCLAS MOSCOW 003473

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USDA FAS FOR OCRA/KUYPERS; OSTA/HAMILTON, BEAN
PASS FSIS/HARRIES, DUTROW
PASS APHIS MITCHELL
STATE FOR EUR/RUS,
STATE PASS USTR FOR CHATTIN, HAFNER, KLEIN
BRUSSELS PASS APHIS/FERNANDEZ
VIENNA PASS APHIS/TANAKA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ETRD ECON WTO RS
SUBJECT: MINAG DELISTS 7 U.S. PORK FACILITIES.

REF: A) HANSEN/DUTROW EMAIL 12/1/08, B) MOSCOW
2769, C) MOSCOW 2949, D) MOSCOW 3181

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Russian Federal Veterinary
and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS)
advised via official letter that it had delisted
7 out of the first 9 pork facilities that were
recently inspected as part of a joint audit. The
results of the remaining 20 pork facilities are
still pending but all signals point to more of
the same unless an agreement can be reached to
cut overall exports of U.S. pork to Russia in
2009 (REF B). In addition, the letter states
that VPSS will intensify border control on all
pork products from establishments 413 and 20748
since Russian specialists were not permitted to
visit farms that supply these establishments with
animals for slaughter during the audit. An
original scanned copy and courtesy translation of
the backdated letter were sent to USDA December 1
(REF A). An informal embassy translation of the
letter follows. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) BEGIN TEXT:
Moscow, November 27, 2008
No. FS-NV-2/12067

Assistant Administrator
Office of International Affairs
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
Dr. Ronald K. Jones

The Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary
Surveillance Service (VPSS) extends its regards
to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
(FSIS), and informs you of the following.

Complying with the agreement on inspection and
certification of U.S. slaughterhouses, meat
processing establishments and cold storages of
November 19, 2006, VPSS specialists conducted an
audit of 29 U.S. pork establishments approved for
export to Russian Federation from October 14-30,
2008.

VPSS has completed preliminary analysis of the
results of the audit conducted in the period from
October 15-17, 2008. The results of our analysis
showed that 7 establishments (244, 382, 812,
1957, 1993, 6916 and 34179) did not comply with
Russian requirements out of a total of 9
establishments inspected during that period.
Therefore the above-mentioned establishments will
be excluded from the list of U.S. establishments
approved for the export of pork and pork by-
products to the Russian Federation starting
December 15, 2008.

I must add that VPSS will intensify border
control on all products from establishments 413
and 20748 since Russian specialists were not
permitted to visit farms that supply these
establishments with animals for slaughter.

Furthermore, I inform you that pork
establishments 28, 3535, 6747 and 19000 are
delisted according to FSIS' notification.

Please note that establishments P-2178, P-2686
and P-20968 C, that declined to participate in
the joint audit in July 2008, have been excluded
from the list of U.S. establishments approved for
the export of poultry to the Russian Federation.

Dr. Jones, let me assure you of my highest
esteem.

Deputy Head
N.A. Vlasov
END TEXT.

3. (SBU) In a previous letter, VPSS stated that
it would not abide by the side letter agreement
on meat and poultry plant inspections which was
signed as part of the U.S.-Russia bilateral WTO
market access agreement in November 2006 as
questions were raised regarding FSIS' competence
to assure and certify that meat and poultry
exports to Russia meet all sanitary requirements
and regulations (REF D). Since then VPSS has
denied a request to relist (or add) 7 new meat
and poultry plants, that were inspected and
certified by FSIS, for export to Russia.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The delisting of 7 out of the
first 9 pork plants visited during the recent
audit appears to be a blatant attempt to force
U.S. negotiators to quickly agree to conditions
that would lead to an overall decrease in U.S.
pork exports to Russia in 2009 (REF B). This
would explain a delay in announcing the results
of the additional 20 pork plants visited during
the audit. MinAg appears to be sending a message
that, one way or another, it will control the
volume of U.S. pork that is shipped to Russia and
achieve the twin goals of protecting domestic
producers and inflicting economic costs on U.S.
agricultural interests. It is very likely that
if GOR and USG officials do not reach an
agreement on TRQ pork allocation for 2009 via
consultations, Russian veterinary officials will
take the matter into their own hands and delist
the majority of the remaining 20 pork plants
visited during the audit. VPSS has already
explicitly stated that it will not abide by the
side letter agreement on plant inspections signed
as part of the U.S.-Russia WTO market access
agreement in November 2006 which permits FSIS the
ability to inspect and certify that U.S. meat and
poultry plants meet Russian requirements (REF D).
Now that it has denied the right of FSIS to
relist and add new meat and poultry plants to the
list of eligible exporters to Russia, VPSS is
picking off U.S. pork plants that are currently
eligible to export to Russia seven at a time
thereby managing trade as it sees fit. END
COMMENT.
BEYRLE

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