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Belarus imposes restrictions on potato imports from the European Union

January 31, 2014, 17:03 UTC+3 MINSK
On January 29, the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Control said that it was imposing restrictions on potato seeds and food potatoes imported from Russia
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MINSK, January 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Belarus is going to impose temporary restrictions on imports of potato seeds and food potatoes from the European Union on February 1.

“The Belarusian Ministry of Food and Agriculture is imposing temporary restrictions on imports of potato seeds and food potatoes originating from the European Union or brought into Belarus from the territories of the EU member states as of February 1, 2014,” the Belarusian Ministry of Food and Agriculture told Itar-Tass on Friday.

Plant materials will also come under restrictions except for seed pieces meant for strain testing at government laboratories or for research-and-development purposes; as well as material coming from transplant nurseries in the European Union known as recognized places, areas and sections of production which Russia and Belarus consider to be free from quarantine facilities.

Sergei Dankvert, the head of the Russian veterinary and phyto-sanitary watchdog, said that they had information that some Belarusian suppliers offered their Russian partners potatoes delivered from the territory of the European Union via Belarus. This fact, according to Dankvert, explains why European potato producers are unwilling to allow the Russian phyto-sanitary service to check their produce.

Belarus has not joined those Customs Union agreements that allow controlling the origins of potatoes which Belarus delivers to the markets of its partners. That gives it an opportunity to sell European potatoes disguised as Belarusian in Russia, the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phtyo-Sanitary Control explained.

At the moment, Russia has restricted its potato imports from the European Union in a bid to prevent the spread of dangerous plant diseases. However, prior to that the Russian phyto-sanitary service used to say that it was possible to allow the import of seed pieces into Russia if the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Control was going to check every commercial batch.

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