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Ukraine's Rada to hear minister's report on foodstuffs trade with Russia

February 20, 2012, 18:25 UTC+3

Official statistics suggests cheese exports to Russia stand at around 65,000 tons a year

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KIEV, February 20 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine's Minister of Agrarian Industry, Valery Prisyazhnyuk, is expected to address the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, the national parliament on Friday and inform them about the situation that shaped in the agricultural sector.

A decision on inviting Prisyazhnyuk was made on Monday at a meeting of the coordinating board of the leaders of parliamentary factions.

The initiative to invite Prisyazhnyuk to parliament came from Alexander Yefremov, an MP representing the pro-presidential Party of Regions.

"He would answer the questions that exist today in separate areas of our relationship with Russia," Yefremov said. He specified at least one of the questions the MPs are very much concerned with at the moment.

Also, he believes Prisyazhnyuk might furnish the parliament members with first-hand information on the condition of winter crops in this country after several weeks of an unusually frosty weather.

"He would tell us for sure if any interference on the part of the Rada is needed in what concerns the state budget and on whether or not it's true we've lost /winter crops -- Itar-Tass/ on 7 million hectares, as the media are speculating here," Yefremov said.

Russia's watchdog agency in the field of consumer rights and quality of foods, Rospotrebnadzor, issued a resolution earlier to ban sales of cheese from three Ukrainian cheeseries, the produce of which the agency found to fall short of the technical regulations of the Russian Federation.

The ban affected the cheese made by the company Prometei in the Chernigov region, the Piryatinsky Cheesery and Gadyach Cheese, both located in the Poltava region.

Ukrainian officials believe the claims the Russian side made against the quality of cheese are totally groundsless.

"The cheese made here is of a very fine quality and of course it doesn't contain any palm oil," Prime Minister Nikolai Nazarov said.

Rospotrebnadzor experts said, among other things, the Ukrainian cheese contained a number of vegetable fats.

Still, Azarov believes that "the sides will come to terms with each other on this problem some time the future and will lift these barriers."

Official statistics suggests cheese exports to Russia stand at around 65,000 tons a year in this country.

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