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Russia returns large batch of Moldovan apples to Belarus

October 13, 2014, 11:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian agricultural watchdog repeteadly expressed concerns over attempts by Belarus to re-export food products to Russia which Moscow banned in response to Western sanctions

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MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. Russia’s agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday it has discovered 19 tons of Moldovan apples re-exported via Belarus to Russia on fake documents.

“A phytosanitary certificate accompanying the cargo said that the apples come from Belarus. However, inspectors found that the fruits were grown in Moldova,” the watchdog said. The apples were sent back to Belarus, Rosselkhoznadzor noted.

The Russian agricultural watchdog earlier this month expressed concerns over attempts by Belarus to re-export food products to Russia which Moscow has banned in response to Western sanctions over events in Ukraine.

Belarus, which is in a Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan, has promised to guarantee control over the re-export of food products. Both countries have agreed to establish a special working group to improve control over food supplies.

Alexey Alexeyenko, aide to Rosselkhoznadzor head, told TASS last week that the Russian watchdog “still has questions” for Belarusian enterprises and could decide on banning re-export of plant products via the country after talks due on Monday.

Tougher re-export controls come amid increasingly frequent attempts by Western suppliers to circumvent Russia’s ban on food imports by illicitly re-exporting European fruit and vegetables through Belarus.

In early August, Russia banned the imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the 28-nation European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway for 12 months in retaliation for sanctions imposed by these nations on Moscow.

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