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Moldova, Russia eye Chisinau for ministers' talks

August 19, 2014, 17:15 UTC+3 CHISINAU
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CHISINAU, August 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Senior government representatives from Moldova and Russia are set to meet for talks in the capital Chisinau on August 21 as the republic seeks to remove restrictions on its food exports to Moscow, the Moldovan Economy Ministry's press service said on Tuesday.

Discussions between Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Andrian Candu, and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin will be held on the platform of the Russia-Moldova intergovernmental commission on trade and economic co-operation, co-chaired by the two men, the ministry said.

“The Moldovan side plans to discuss problems of bilateral trade relations in the context of Russia’s restrictions on Moldovan imports,” it said. “Another important issue will be conditions for extending the contract on Russian gas supplies to Moldova until 2015.”

The Russian embargo, introduced on July 21 - two weeks before Moscow issued a wider ban on western produce - covers imports of Moldovan apples, plums, peaches and canned fruit. Russia also abolished duty-free exemptions for a number of Moldovan products such as meat, vegetables, sugar and wine.

Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest states, and its economy relies heavily on its agricultural exports. Moscow’s moves against it are widely seen as retaliation for the country’s decision to sign a free-trade deal and association agreement with the European Union.

The loss of the key sales market put many companies on the brink of bankruptcy. Farmers blamed what happened on “the Moldovan government that signed the EU association and free-trade agreement with no consideration for the opinion of producers and its CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States, the association of former Soviet republics] partners”.

According to the government, Moldovan agricultural producers might lose about $150 million under the worst of scenarios. Apple producers will incur the gravest losses as they were the second-largest suppliers to Russia after Poland. Last year, they exported about 180,000 tonnes.

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