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Russia returns to Soviet-era “Quality Mark” to certify goods

September 15, 2014, 20:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian salmon fish to be the first to receive it
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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

MOSCOW, September 15 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is returning to the Soviet-style system of marking the quality of domestic goods.

The State Quality Mark of the USSR was the official Soviet mark for the certification of quality established in 1967. It was used to guarantee high commercial standards of consumer products and technical goods and was a stimulus for manufacturers to improve the quality of production. Obtaining the mark allowed Soviet enterprises to increase the state controlled price for their goods by ten percent. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the government introduced its own sign for certification of quality known as Rostest Mark.

Russian salmon will be the first to receive the distinctive quality mark. Its producers hope to turn it into a new brand to counterweight the banned Norwegian salmon, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade told Itar-Tass on Monday.

The Ministry hopes that the “quality mark” will raise consumer’s trust in Russian salmon and increase its sales in the home market.

“In a mid-term perspective, the move is expected to make Russian goods more competitive, help Russian producers to implement their export potential and, what’s also important, to ultimately replace imports,” the Ministry source told Itar-Tass.

Dmitry Vostrikov, development director at the Association of Producers and Supplies of Food Products (Rusprodsoyuz), gave the example of Finland where the “Finnish product” mark with a white swan label guarantees a 40%-50% increase in sales.

“The same system exists in Latvia,” Vostrikov said.

“The quality mark will it possible to turn Russian salmon into a new brand and draw consumers’ attention to the natural domestic product,” said Sergei Gudkov, the executive director of the Russian Fishing Union who is a member of the working group for the quality mark’s creation.

An autonomous non-profit organization will issue the quality mark for goods that will match standards developed by research institutes with participation of sectoral associations. The quality mark standards are to be ready by the end of September. After that, Russia’s trade chains will select the samples of Russian goods. Manufacturers whose products successfully pass this test will be offered to mark their products with quality labels. Enterprises will have to periodically reconfirm their right to certify their products with “quality marks.”

In the former Soviet Union, the quality mark was issued for 2 or 3 years.

In August, Russian imposed a 12-month trade embargo on food imports from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway in retaliation for the West’s anti-Russian sanctions imposed over Russia’s policy in Ukraine. Until that time, it had been hard for Russian enterprises to compete against well-advertised Norwegian fish and pave their way to the shelves of Russian shops.

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