Russia lifts Moldova wine and spirits ban

  • Wednesday 6 December 2006

Russia has lifted its ban on Moldovan wine imports.

In March this year Russia banned imports of wine and wine materials from Moldova and Georgia, and further clamped down in April with a ban on brandy and sparkling wine imports.

Russian authorities claimed the products were of inferior quality and failed to meet health and safety regulations.

But Moldovan officials said the ban – which hurt the Moldovan economy by reducing the former Soviet Republic’s total wine exports by 40% – were politically motivated and possibly illegal.

‘It was always a political issue. The idea that Moldovan vintners use pesticides was wrong: they are too expensive for our wine growers,’ said Andrei Neguta, Moldovan ambassador to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France.

Neguta told decanter.com that Russia lifted the ban at least partly in exchange for Moldova’s support for Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organisation.

Still, the new agreement ‘requires that certificates of quality be given to wines before export from a team of inspectors to include Russians,’ Neguta said.

Moldovan wine exporters are relieved: ‘The ban hurt us for many months,’ Victor Plugariov of Acorex Holding told decanter.com. ‘For now, the decision is just official. We still have not actually been able to ship wine to Russia again, but this is good news.’

Russia's wine ban on Georgia still exists. That former Soviet republic continues to oppose Russian WTO membership, according to a report from the German press agency.

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