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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Considers Reopening Russian Food Aid Tenders

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission may reopen a number of food aid tenders for Russia next Thursday, a commission official said Friday.

Such a move would be conditional on a successful outcome of a planned meeting in Brussels on Wednesday between Russian authorities and the European Commission, the official said.

EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler had written another letter to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Kulik earlier this week suggesting the two sides resolve their differences over the quality and delivery of the EU's $500 million aid package to Russia at the meeting next Wednesday, he added.

The Russian side had yet to reply, he said.

One of the four Russian operators responsible for the delivery and distribution of the aid, in this case cereals, had met commission officials already and reached an informal deal that would still have to be ratified by the Russian government.

On Tuesday the two sides failed to reach a deal, delaying the first aid shipments.

The European Commission also said Friday that it would increase subsidies for a number of EU pigmeat products destined for Russia in a bid to help Europe's crisis-hit pork market.

"Franz Fischler decided to raise export refunds for certain processed pork products this morning after some member states asked for help earlier this week," commission spokesman Gerry Kiely said.

EU pork exports to Russia in a normal six-month period usually total around 65,000 tons but in the six months since the Russian crisis began exports have almost halved, the commission said.

The British Pig Association said at a Brussels news conference on Thursday that Europe could suffer over 50,000 job losses in the next three or four months if the results of a recent British survey were replicated across Europe.