February 10, 2006

Russia bans meat imports from Argentine province

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has banned from Friday imports of
live animals, all products of animal origin and animal feed
from the Argentine province of Corrientes for fears of
foot-and-mouth disease, the Agriculture Ministry said.

The ban has been imposed following a report by the
international animal health body OIE about an outbreak of the
disease in cattle in the province, a ministry statement said.

The government of Argentina, the world's No.3 beef
exporter, declared late on Thursday a nationwide sanitary alert
to prevent the disease from spreading.

Russia is the top importer of fresh Argentine beef.
Argentina is allowed to import fresh beef within a 500-tonne
quota at a discount tariff of 15 percent of the customs value,
but no less than 0.2 euros per kg.

Imports of fresh beef above the quota are liable to a
tariff of 40 percent of the customs value, but no less than 0.4
euros per kg. Foot-and-mouth disease does not harm humans, but
causes fever, weight loss and infertility in cloven-hoofed
animals such as cattle, sheep goats and pigs.

In December, Russia banned beef and pork imports from eight
Brazilian states due to foot and mouth. Russia is Brazil's
largest beef and pork market.