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Russia, EU Reach Deal on Meat Imports


Reports from Moscow say Russia has reached an agreement in principle with the European Union that will allow European meat imports to continue without interruption after January 1.

A spokesman for EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou told the Associated Press that EU and Russian negotiators will begin working Wednesday on a memorandum of understanding to be signed January 18 in Berlin.

Russia had earlier threatened to block all European meat imports over what it says are concerns about the safety of Romanian and Bulgarian meat products.

Earlier tWednesday, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted Agriculture Minister Alexi Gordeyev as saying normal supplies of permitted EU products from companies accredited in Russia will continue.

He later said the agreement stipulates that meat from Romania and Bulgaria will not be supplied to the Russian market through other EU member countries.

Last week, in a move to ease Russian concerns about Bulgarian and Romanian products, EU food safety experts moved to restrict milk, meat and animal exports from the both countries.

Under the new measures, products from hundreds of meat and milk producers in the two countries will have to undergo further testing, before they can enter other EU countries.