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Russia still suspicious of fruit, vegetable imports from Switzerland

December 12, 2014, 16:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Deliveries of apples from Switzerland increased 400 times, which prompted suspicion they were not produced in Switzerland
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© ITAR-TASS/Ruslan Shumakov

MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Russian food standards officers remain suspicious that Switzerland reexports European products Moscow has banned from entry in response to Western sanctions over events in Ukraine, the country's veterinary regulator said on Friday.

“We are holding talks now,” Aleksey Saurin, deputy head of Russia's agriculture watchdog (Rosselkhoznadzor) told TASS.

Asked whether Swiss suppliers have been cleared of suspicion of smuggling agricultural products to Russia, Saurin said: “No. But we’ll see if they provide documents.”

The Russian regulator said earlier it considered banning imports of fruit and vegetables from Switzerland over suspicions of apple smuggling. The measures were expected to be taken if Switzerland failed to notify Russia of the volumes of fruit and vegetables it grows and to prove the authenticity of phytosanitary certificates accompanying products delivered to the country.

Infographics Economical sanctions against Russia Economical sanctions against Russia
The USA, EU, Canada and Australia have introduced sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
According to Rosselkhoznadzor, Switzerland has considerably increased exports of some fruit and vegetables to Russia after Moscow introduced its ban on food imports from Western countries which imposed sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. Deliveries of apples from Switzerland increased 400 times, which made the agency suspect they were not produced in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, Alexander Isayev, an official of the watchdog, said on Friday Swiss veterinary officers had confirmed the authenticity of phytosanitary certificates accompanying their deliveries to the Russian market and that those products were actually produced in Switzerland, the agency said in a statement after talks with Swiss embassy representatives.

The ban announced at the beginning of August bars imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the 28-nation European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway for one year in retaliation for sanctions imposed by those nations on Russia over events in Ukraine. Switzerland was spared, having indicated that it would not follow other Western nations in imposing economic sanctions.

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