Russia suspects Belarus of re-exporting Turkish grapes
Russian authorities say they are 'concerned' at the increased table grape export volumes from Belarus since a ban was placed on Turkish fruit at the beginning of the year.
In a recent posting, Russia's agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said Belarus had become a major importer of Turkish grapes since the ban was implemented on Jan. 1, 2016 in retaliation for Turkey shooting down a Russian military plane.
Rosselkhoznadzor said grape imports to Belarus for an eight-month period of 2016 more than doubled year-on-year from 9,400 metric tons (MT) to 24,000MT, while imports specifically of Turkish-origin grapes grew more than five-fold to 14,700MT.
It added that during the same period, table grape shipments from Belarus to Russia more than doubled from 3,400MT to 7,800MT.
In addition, Rosselkhoznadzor said many countries shipping grapes to Belarus, like Somalia, Guinea, Mali, and the Central African Republic, were passing through the European Union (EU) and then re-exported to Russia.
The organization said sanctions may be applied to Belarus if a rapid solution is not found.