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MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Russia’s Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fyodorov on Friday called the reports on Kazakhstan’s plans to introduce restrictions on Russian products a misunderstanding.
"We are actively strengthening the Customs Union, common rules and inadmissibility of any restrictions. So, saying there is a topic of restrictions is a misunderstanding. It does not fit in with the concept [of the Customs Union] and our countries' efforts to move in the direction of not only consolidation, but also creation of a powerful union," Fyodorov said.
Earlier on Friday, the Kommersant daily reported that Kazakhstan is considering introducing restrictions on imports of 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.