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TBILISI, April 1 (Itar-Tass) – Georgian Agriculture Minister David Kirvalidze is optimistic about prospects to shortly resume exports of Georgian products to Russia.
Speaking to reporters here on Monday, Kirvalidze noted that a Georgian delegation led by the head of the ministry’s National Food Agency, Zurab Chekurashvili, is heading for Moscow in the afternoon. On Tuesday, the delegation is expected to meet with the leadership of Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor agricultural watchdog to discuss the renewal of exports of agricultural products to Russia. He expressed “hope” that the upcoming talks “will be a success”. According to the minister “there are grounds to believe and expectations that exports to Russia of the whole range of Georgian-made agricultural products will begin this season”.
Agency sources said that the delegation consists of six people – leading specialists on food, veterinary and phytosanitary experts. “Russia shows readiness to discuss with the Georgian delegation all issues concerning the process of resuming exports of fruit, vegetables, greens, cheese, honey and other agricultural products to Russia,” agency sources said.
A week ago, Chekurashvili said “Georgia has a big potential in terms of the supplies of high-quality products of vegetable origin”. “The Russian market is traditional for Georgia, Russian consumers know and value our products, their quality and taste,” he said.
In his words, the negotiations will focus on all technical issues connected with sanitary and phytosanitary control, as well as Georgia’s legislative framework in that sector.
In the last few months Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has repeatedly noted that “the imposition of the restrictions on the imports of the Georgian products (2006-2007) in Russia was mainly caused by undiplomatic statements of President Mikhail Saakashvili, who aggravated the situation so much that the country lost the opportunity to brings its agrarian products in Russia.”