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Officials target 'fake transit' as Western suppliers seek to side-step Russia's food ban

November 26, 2014, 15:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Tougher laws are needed to stop Western suppliers flouting Russia’s ban by illicitly reexporting European fruit and vegetables through Belarus and Kazakhstan
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© EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

MOSCOW, November 26. /TASS/. Food standards officers are pushing for tighter rules in the regional Customs Union to block banned European products reaching Russia through neighbour-states and side-stepping Moscow's embargo on imports from the West.

Tougher laws are needed to stop Western suppliers flouting Russia’s ban by illicitly reexporting European fruit and vegetables through Russia's partners in the three-nation customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, they say.

Changes should center on rules of transit, Sergey Dankvert, head of Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor, told TASS after meeting Sergey Sidorsky, Agriculture and Industry Minister for the Eurasian Economic Commission, the customs union's supranational regulatory body.

Tighter controls are proposed to battle increasingly frequent attempts by Western suppliers to circumvent Russia’s ban on food imports, fraudulently reexporting European fruit and vegetables through Belarus and Kazakhstan under the guise of transit.

“Nobody expected there would be such an expression as ‘fake transit’," said Dankvert. "But since it has appeared, we should enshrine in law how to prevent it,” he added, noting that such traffic had become increasingly popular in channelling European goods to Russian consumers.

The ban announced in August bars imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the 28-nation European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway for one year in retaliation for sanctions imposed by those nations on Russia over events in Ukraine.

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