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Russian Agriculture Ministry holds no negotiations on Kazakhstan's import restrictions

February 06, 2015, 12:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia's Deputy Agriculture Minister Andrey Volkov said it's the Customs Union that handles such issues

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© TASS/Dmitriy Feoktistov

MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Russia’s Agriculture Ministry has refuted reports about holding negotiations with Kazakhstan on possible introduction of restrictions on Russian products, Deputy Minister Andrey Volkov said on Friday.

When asked about whether negotiations between Russia and Kazakhstan on this matter could be held at the level of the Agriculture Ministry, Volkov said: "No, we have the Customs Union."

Earlier on Friday, the Kommersant daily reported that Kazakhstan is considering the introduction of restrictions on importing a number of Russian goods as Kazakhstani producers find it increasingly difficult to compete with them in prices.

Importing to Kazakhstan is not strategically important for most Russian companies. However, such restrictions may threaten the economic integration of the two countries, the newspaper added.

Today, Kazakhstan and Russia are expected to discuss bilateral trade issues, sources in Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Eurasian Economic Commission told Kommersant. According to the sources, Astana insists on introducing restrictions or even a ban on a number of Russian products as the devaluation of the Russian ruble (by 47% against Kazakhstani national currency tenge) threatens Kazakhstan’s domestic market. The products under consideration include petroleum products, automobiles, construction and building materials, along with poultry, eggs, confectionery, flour and juices.

The source in Russia’s Agriculture Ministry said the negotiations have been held for a week, and "there are no sufficient grounds for introducing any restrictions." The Customs Union did not register a sharp growth of imports from Russia to Kazakhstan over the past weeks, the source added.

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