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BRUSSELS, October 17 (Itar-Tass). — Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov has advised the European partners not to politicise the scandal surrounding Russia’s ban on the supply of dairy products from Lithuania. He made this statement in an interview with Itar -Tass.
“This incident is not the first and not the last, I’m afraid,” said the Russian ambassador, recalling a similar scandal in 2006 with banning the supply of Polish meat to Russia, “which in some cases was not Polish, and not even always meat.” “Indian buffalo meat was supplied from Poland to Russia under its guise at best, and at worst - metal goods. There was also an incident in which scrap metal was supplied under the guise of meat,” said the diplomat.
“All this ended with the change of government in Poland. Though, of course, there had been much more reasons for this than that issue,” he said. However, after the change of the Cabinet, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the new government of the country depoliticised the whole dispute, which made it possible to quickly enough find a solution at the expert level in the regular course of business.
“An inspection and certification system was created as a result of this conflict. Experts of Rosselkhoznadzor (the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) visit and certify not the industry sectors, but specific suppliers. There are 80-something enterprises in Poland. Since then, if separate problems have arisen, they never rose to the political level. Everything is working in a regular, normal mode without politics. Generally, politics only causes damage to veterinary and phytosanitary matters,” said the Russian ambassador.
“If we have a broader view of the problem, over the past 20 years, Russia has turned into a major food market for EU countries. The volume of exports of these products to Russia from the EU amounts to 10 billion euro a year,” he said. “It is clear in which conditions the market was forming in the 1990s, when, on the one hand, the establishment of a market economy and development of trade was underway in our country, and on the other - there were serious problems with the status of domestic producers. Therefore, having easily won the Russian market in the early 1990s, European suppliers very quickly got used to it, and when, finally, the Russian agriculture began to rise, naturally, conflicts started to arise.”
Speaking about pure trade, “there is no parity even on paper” between the Russian and European exporters, Chizhov added. “For example, to date, 1,600 different exporters supply meat from the EU to Russia, and only 13 Russian companies have the right to export meat to the EU, and, basically, they deliver unique products, such as reindeer meat - for gourmands. And it is supplied only from two Russian regions - Murmansk Oblast and the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area. There is an imbalance here, to be honest,” he concluded.