OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Russia’s decision on July 20 to lift restrictions on imports of pork, pork products and live swine from Ontario was welcomed by Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board.

"During my visit to Russia, I assured my ministerial counterparts that Canadian pork is safe," Mr. Day said. "[The July 20th] announcement by Russia demonstrates our government is opening doors, removing trade barriers and constantly working on behalf of Canadian business and producers."

"The decision by Russia to lift all remaining restrictions on Canadian pork will make a difference to the bottom line of our hog producers," added Mr. Ritz.

Russia’s decision affects Ontario pork products produced before May 15 and after July 18, 2009, and means that country no longer has any H1N1-related restrictions on Canadian products.

Other countries have also lifted import bans on Canadian products after representations by the ministers and other Canadian officials. Earlier this month, Russia lifted restrictions on pork from Quebec, as well as on non-pork meat products such as beef and poultry from Ontario.

Some countries, however, still impose restrictions on Canadian pork and swine, without scientifically justifiable evidence to support their actions. Ministers Day and Ritz will continue to lobby these other countries for full access for Canadian pork and swine.

In 2008, total Canadian pork exports were valued at $2.7 billion, including nearly $527 million worth of live swine exports. Last month Mr. Day led a trade mission to Russia, where he met with several ministers and requested Russia to lift the bans.