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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Quota on EU Frozen Meat Imports Cut by up to 78%

Russia and the European Union have agreed to cut the EU's frozen beef import quotas for 2007 by up to 270,000 tons or 77.6 percent in favor of other countries for safety reasons, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Thursday.

It said in a statement that the agreement had been reached after the Federal Service for Veterinarian and Vegetation Sanitary Supervision imposed bans on beef imports from some EU countries.

This year Russia banned imports of meat from 35 EU enterprises after finding shipments tainted with dangerous bacteria.

Russia banned meat and plant products from EU member Poland in November 2005. Warsaw in return blocked the start of talks between Moscow and Brussels on a new strategic partnership agreement covering areas such as energy, human rights and trade.

Russia regulates red and poultry meat imports with annual tariff quotas. The EU has the largest share of 347,600 tons in this year's total frozen beef quota of 440,000 tons.

Beef within the quota may be imported at a discount tariff of 15 percent of the customs value, but no less than 15 euro cents (21 cents) per kilogram. Beef imports above the quota are liable to a tariff of 30 percent, but no less than 30 euro cents per kilogram.

Moscow has set quota levels from 2005 to 2009 on the basis of import volumes in the previous three years.

Meat processors have complained about the EU quota, which is not filled but complicates imports from countries, where beef is cheaper like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, of which only Paraguay has a quota of 3,000 tons.

Quota volumes have been fixed until 2009 by international agreements. But if a ban is imposed on imports from certain countries due to safety reasons, traders have the right to order meat from other countries within the total quota limits.