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Russia Considers Restrictions on the Importation of Fruit from Greece

01 August 2014 / 20:08:35  GRReporter
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The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance is about to impose restrictions on fruit imports from Greece, Deputy Director Alexey Alexeenko announced to the RIA Novosty news agency.

The service hinted at this plan earlier this week while making an announcement of probable restrictions for fruit imported from the EU countries, because of the ‘continuing import of products contaminated with the Grapholita molesta parasite’.

This Wednesday, a service team found the parasite in nectarines imported from Greece, reports RIA Novosty. ‘Presently, our experts are assessing the gravity of this situation and the dangers posed. The inspection will finish in a couple of days, early next week. Then, it is quite possible for a restriction to be imposed on fruit imported from Greece to Russia,’ Alexeenko said.

He added that the decision of the Service shall be taken based on the number of violations of the phyto-sanitary requirements. ‘The fruit importation period has just started; importation from Greece has just started. We will inspect the shipments and then decide,’ the Deputy Director of the Russian service said.

According to the information provided by the Russian Federal Customs Service, in 2013, citrus fruit, grapes, melons, apples, pears, apricots, sour cherries, cherries, peaches, prunes and other fresh fruit, such as raspberries, mulberries, dates, etc. were imported from Greece.

The aggregated value of the imports from Greece amounted to USD 611.3 million, and 34% of the amount was attributed to the fruit imports.

The total share of apricots, nectarines, peaches and sour cherries imported from Greece to Russia amounted to 12.5% - 57.8 thousand tonnes which amounted to USD 90.1 million.

In the ‘other fresh fruit’ category, the share of Greece is 15.7% (58.7 tonnes or EUR 97.1 million) and it is far less in the imports of other fruit. Last year, the import from Greece of citrus fruit reached 14.2 kilotonnes (USD 15 million), grapes - 1.1 kilotonnes (USD 2.3 million), melons – 0.2 kilotonnes (USD 0.2 million), apples and pears – 3.4 kilotonnes (USD 3.6 million).

Several days ago, under the same pretext, Russian authorities imposed restrictions on the import of fruit and vegetables from Ukraine, Poland, Netherlands, and Moldova and said that this measure is to be applied mostly for ‘imports from countries from Eastern Europe’.

The probable imposing of such restrictions on Greek produce made the exporters send a letter of alarm to the European Commission warning about the consequences for the country’s economy. In his reply to the Greek Association of Exporters, Jose Manuel Barroso says that trade agreements concluded between the EU and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia on 27 June 2014 ‘can provide new perspectives to the European industry, including the Greek exporters.’

However, according to the official data of the Association, Greece is the No1 importer in Russia while Russia is the 20th best market for Greek products. The Association of Greek Exporters points out that the probable consequences of the escalating trade war between the EU and Russia will cost the Greek economy millions of Euro and will considerably impact many production sectors, including tourism and transport services. According to estimates made by the exporters, the losses suffered will be roughly EUR 7.5 billion, which is 4% of the country’s GDP.

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