Business
July 18 2014 - 19:07

Russia Bans Fruit Imports From Moldova

The temporary prohibitions, which extend to apples, pears, quinces, apricots, cherries, wild cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums and sloe, will take effect on Monday.

The temporary prohibitions, which extend to apples, pears, quinces, apricots, cherries, wild cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums and sloe, will take effect on Monday.

Russia imposed a temporary ban on Moldovan fruit imports on Friday, adding to an already existing ban on wine imports from the increasingly Western-leaning country, according to a copy of the order issued by the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service.

The temporary prohibitions, which extend to apples, pears, quinces, apricots, cherries, wild cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums and sloe, will take effect on Monday.

The decision was necessitated by "systematic violations of international and Russian phytosanitary requirements," the statement said.

Imports of all plant-products from Moldova in baggage and hand-baggage has also been restricted.

The restrictions follow a series of warnings and similar bans that Russia has placed on Moldovan imports over the past year as the country developed its economic and political relations with the European Union.

The Moldovan parliament ratified an association agreement with the EU earlier this month, immediately inciting warnings from top Russian officials that "protective [trade] measures" would follow.

Russian politicians have said that a free trade zone with the EU, one of the measures included in the agreement, would threaten the Russian market with an overflow of Moldovan imports and even an influx of cheap, re-exported European goods.

Economists, however, have said that the free trade zone poses no actual economic threat to Russia.

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said after the ratification that Russia could potentially institute tariffs on Moldovan imports.

At present, Moldovan imports are free from customs duties owing to its membership in a free-trade zone that includes Russia and other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Russia's Economic Development Ministry on Wednesday published a draft bill that would levy a customs duty on meat, fruit, vegetables and wine imported from Moldova. If approved by the government, the bill will go into effect within one month of its signing.

Alexander Slusar, the chairman of Moldovan agricultural union Uniagroprotekt, said previously that a ban on fruit imports to Russia would lead to a collapse of prices on the domestic market, Prime news agency reported.

"Only 10 to 20 percent of producers can reorient their exports to other countries, they will be forced to sell their harvests on the domestic market," he said.

Also with allusions to phytosanitary violations, Russia cut off imports of Moldovan wine in the weeks leading up to a November 2013 summit at which Moldova was expected to sign its association agreement with the EU. Undeterred, Moldova proceeded to sign the agreement.

See also:

Russia Prepares Economic Retaliation Over Moldova's EU Deal

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