Russia discusses import ban “loosening” with Greek leaders

Greece appears to be at the front of the queue to benefit from a potential loosening of Russia’s ban on food imports from the EU.  

Discussions between Russian and Greek representatives have taken place to explore the issue, with Russia’s veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance service, Rosselkhoznadzor, publishing a photograph of a recent meeting between the Greek deputy minister of agriculture, Panagiotis Sgouridis, and Rosselkhoznadzo’s assistant chief, Dr. Alexie Alekseenko.

The meeting was held “on the initiative of the Greek partner” reported Rosselkhoznadzor, adding that it included discussion on the development of “bilateral relations in the area of agriculture” and the monitoring of food products from a safety perspective.

It was also stated that the discussions took place “in the context of lifting restrictions in reference to some key products”.

The Greek/Russia move is highly restricted in its potential, however. Under World Trade Organisation rules, Russia, as a member country, isn’t permitted to impose sanctions against EU member states in total and then selectively lift those sanctions on one of the countries involved.  Despite this, imports of certain raw materials, designed for further processing into food within Russia, may be possible.

The European Certification body, A CERT, also took part in the Greek/Russia meeting, being represented by president, Stefanos Billas, and general manager, Konstantia Nalmpanti.

A CERT, in fact, is to run seminars in Greece, with the involvement of “Rosselkhoznadzor’s experts” to examine the “requirements of imports of goods of plant and animal origin to the Russian Federation”.

“Furthermore,” said Rosselkhoznadzor, “A CERT will conduct initial and periodical inspections and certification of interested export enterprises.

“For this reason, A CERT has developed a trustworthy and effective inspection and certification system which will guarantee the delivery of quality agricultural and food products to Russia, a process which is welcomed by the Greek agricultural and food industry.”

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