Russia to place stricter controls on produce imports through Belarus

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Russia to place stricter controls on produce imports through Belarus

As of today, Russia will no longer accept fresh produce imports from India, Kenya or Liberia if they are sent via Belarus.

The country's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) recently issued a request to the Belarusian authorities not to allow re-exports from these countries, following suspicions the products could be fake.

In an announcement yesterday, the food safety watchdog cited fresh mushrooms, lettuce, apples and pears as potentially fraudulent products from India and Liberia.

Speaking with Tass, Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergey Dankvert said there were suspicions fake labels had been forged in the Netherlands, a leading source of entry for EU imports and re-exports.

Through counter-sanctions implemented in August, 2014, the world's largest country banned imports of a range of food products from the Europe, Norway, Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the Ukraine have since been added to the list due to their support for sanctions from the West, while the Kremlin also imposed a ban on the majority of Turkish fresh fruit imports starting this year after the downing of a Russian jet near the Syrian border last November.

Interestingly, Tass also reported Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev emphasized a lifting of the counter-sanctions would not affect his country's farmers, although he clarified this would only take place if the West lifted its sanctions on Russia.

"It seems to me the embargo lifting is not a major threat or a kind of a systemic failure for us because we pretty well understand that the ruble devaluation is [the] main support for Russian agricultural producers," Tkachev was quoted as saying.


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