CHISINAU, August 1. /TASS/. Moldova hopes to resume economic cooperation with Russia, for which ends it has been holding talks "at all levels," Moldova’s Prime Minister Pavel Filip said on Monday.
He said the Moldovan side is getting prepared for a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation due to take place in November. "Currently, groups of experts are working. Last week, a round of talks was held in Moscow and another round will be held in Chisinau in late August," he said.
The sides, according to the Moldovan prime minister, are discussing the entire range of issues, not focusing only on the sensitive problem of Russia’s restrictions on imports of Moldovan agricultural products imposed following Moldova’s signing the association agreement with the European Union. "We hope Russia will finally cancel customs taxes on 19 Moldovan products. They were imposed after Moldova signed a free trade agreement with the European Union. But this agreement in no way runs counter to the free trade zone within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)," Filip said.
He refuted media allegations that as a condition of lifting its ban on Moldovan products Russia is allegedly demanding a number of concessions in the Transdnietsrian settlement. "There are no such conditions. We discuss with Russia issues of the development of bilateral relations whereas problems of the Transdnietsrian settlement are discussed in the Five Plus Two format (involving Moldova, Transdniestria, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia, Ukraine and observers from the United States and the European Union)," he said.
Filip, who was appointed Moldova’s prime minister in January 2016, spoke in favor of the soonest resumption of the work of the Russian-Moldovan intergovernmental commission which had its latest meeting as far back as November 2012. Many problems have piled in the bilateral relations over this time. After Moldova signed a free trade zone agreement with the European Union in 2014, Russia cancelled zero customs taxes on a number of Moldovan products, including wines, meat, vegetables, fruits and grain to protect itself from re-exports of European products. Later, Russia temporarily banned Moldovan fruits not conforming with Russia’s quality standards.