Canada threatens action against Russia over pork

Fri May 8, 2009 10:24am EDT
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BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Canada may take action against Russia if it keeps a ban on its pork products in the wake of a H1N1 flu outbreak that started in Mexico, Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day said on Friday.

Visiting Romania during a European trip to promote Canadian trade, Day said any action could be related to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which Russia wants to join.

"We hope it won't go that far. If the ban continues, and we want to resolve it, we will look into actions we can take," he told reporters. "But a lot of damage is already done."

The United States, Canada and Mexico vowed on Thursday to fight what they called unjustified restrictions.

About 20 countries, including Russia and China, have imposed widespread import restrictions on pork and pork products from major U.S., Canadian and Mexican farming regions amid fears over the disease.

Russia could face bilateral trade sanctions. It also faces obstacles in its bid to join the trade body, which include finishing talks with all WTO members.

Day would not comment on the shape of any potential Canadian action against Russia.

(Reporting by Justyna Pawlak; editing by Janet Lawrence)