British Embassy Moscow
Owen Paterson visits Moscow to conclude deal finalising lifting of restrictions on British beef and lamb imports to Russia and to mark the first deliveries; to promote UK food and drink exporters; secure Russian support for UK’s Illegal Wildlife Trade agenda; and to agree long term UK-Russia cooperation on plant and animal health.
16-18 September, Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, visited Moscow for an extensive programme including talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Arkadiy Dvorkovich, Russian Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Rinat Gizatullin.
Food and Drink
Deputy Prime Minister Dvorkovich announced the lifting of Russia’s restrictions on imports of UK beef and lamb offal. The ban on British meat had been imposed in 1996 in the wake of the BSE crisis. Former President Medvedev promised the Prime Minister in 2011 that Russia would lift the ban. The final step in the process has immediately opened the way for a contract worth £2m per year, adding to an existing £7m per year contract, and the wider meat deal is worth up to £100m over 3 years.
The Secretary of State opened Russia’s largest food show, World Food Moscow, accompanied by a delegation of 18 UK food and drink companies. The British Embassy served British lamb for the first time in 18 years at a celebratory dinner for high end Russian buyers and restaurant owners. The dinner also showcased Scotch Whisky which is progressing towards Geographical Indication protection in Russia. Russia is one of the world’s largest spirits markets and sales of Scotch Whisky are currently worth £200m and growing by 10% per year. Both UK and Russian media covered the visit in national and trade press, focusing on the opportunities for UK businesses in Russia and the value of lifting the beef ban. We expect further follow up in Russian media.
Illegal Wildlife Trading
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Rinat Gizatullin, welcomed the Secretary of State’s invitation to next year’s London Summit on Illegal Wildlife Trading and confirmed Russian Ministerial attendance. He offered to share experience of hosting the high-level 2010 Tiger Conservation Forum.
Plant and Animal Health
Visiting two of Russia’s top animal and plant health research and testing centres, the Secretary of State highlighted the opportunities for UK-Russia collaboration. DPM Dvorkovich agreed that regular technical level meetings and a Ministerial dialogue would provide a sound base for developing early warning systems for plant and animal health risks.
A constructive and productive visit that has laid the groundwork for collaboration both on policy and technical levels, moved forward a series of market access asks and secured useful exposure for UK companies.
The core of the Russian ban on imports of UK beef and lamb meat was lifted in late 2012, but differences in EU and Russian standards, meant the ban on beef and lamb offal remained in place. The Russian offal market has been a priority for UK industry.
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