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Moldovan, Russian prime ministers discuss problem of Moldovan wine exports to Russia

September 30, 2013, 23:15 UTC+3

According to the press service, the Moldovan prime minister expressed the hope that the problem over exports of Moldovan wines to Russia would soon be settled

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CHISINAU, September 30 (Itar-Tass) - Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca on Monday had a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the situation over exports of Moldovan wines to Russia, the press service of the Moldovan government reported.

According to the press service, the Moldovan prime minister expressed the hope that the problem over exports of Moldovan wines to Russia would soon be settled. The two prime ministers also addressed issues of energy cooperation, the agenda of bilateral visits and the Dniester settlement. The stressed the importance of finalizing the work for setting legal framework to ensure social protection of Moldovan citizens working in Russia.

Earlier on Monday, Moldova’s Prime Minister Iurie Leanca called on local media not to fan hysteria over Russia’s ban on imports of Moldovan wines. “Let us not use the word ‘embargo’ until the negotiations with Russian experts are over,” he told journalists on Monday. He said that Moldovan experts were looking into circumstances that were behind this ban in order to avoid such sanctions in future. “We are interested in civilized and constructive trade relations, in line with the obligations undertaken within the World Trade Organization and the free trade zone of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),” he said.

On Monday, first talks between representatives from Moldova’s ministry of agriculture and Russia’s consumer rights protection authority (Rospotrebnadzor) were held in Moscow. The sides discussed Russia’s requirements to the quality of Moldovan wines and other technical issues. Now, Rospoterbnadzor specialists will go to Chisinau to inspect quality control systems at Moldovan wineries, Moldovan Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sergiu Ghetiu said on Monday.

Russia imposed a ban on imports of Moldovan wines on September 10 over their inferior quality. Earlier in 2013, Rospptrebnadzor exposed eight batches of Moldovan alcoholic products (two batches of wine and six batches of cognac) that did not meet Russia’s quality and safety standards. Rospetrebnadzor specialists found dibutyl phthalate contents exceeding safe levels by 80-90 times. Rospotrebnadzor head and Russia’s chief sanitary doctor, Gennady Onishchenko, said that Russia wanted Chisinau to undertake official liabilities concerning quality control system. Onishchenko said the return of wines to the Russian market would be studied individually with every winemaker, as had happened after a previous embargo in 2006.

In 2006, Russia imposed a ban on Moldovan wine imports. Whereas in 2005-2006, or before the ban was imposed, Russia had accounted for 85 percent of Moldova’s wine exports, in 2013, the figure was reduced to 30-35 percent.

In case imports of Moldovan wines are resumed by the end of this year, Moldova’s losses will stand at about 40 million U.S. dollars, according to the government of that country.

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