MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) – Moldova’s government will fight for the return of Moldovan wines to Russian shops, Prime Minister Iurie Leancă said.
“We do not want to lose the Russian market, we will do everything possible for our excellent wines to reach Russian consumers,” Leancă said on the Echo Moskvy radio Saturday, adding that Russia accounts for a “considerable” share of Moldova’s wine exports, up to 29 percent.
He said his country’s experts and their Russian colleagues started analyzing Russia’s complaints about the quality of Moldovan products to reveal specific technical problems that resulted in the suspension of Moldovan wine exports to Russia.
Earlier, Russia’s then chief consumer rights official Gennady Onishchenko said the countdown for the return of Moldovan wine to the Russian market will start as soon as Chisinau establishes a reliable system of quality control at its wineries.
Russia banned Moldovan wine and brandy imports in September over quality concerns.
The ban came ahead of the expected signing of a landmark agreement between the European Union and Chisinau in November.
Russia previously banned Moldovan wine imports in 2006, when the country’s products accounted for about 60 percent of the Russian market. Although the embargo was lifted in late 2007, Moldovan products currently account for about 10 percent of all wine products sold in Russia, with $60 million in sales last year.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman said Wednesday Onishchenko has been relieved of his duties as head of the country’s consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor due to his contract expiring and appointed as an aide to Medvedev.
Since being appointed head of Russia’s federal health inspection agency when it was founded in 2004, Onishchenko initiated bans on Georgian wine, Belarusian and Lithuanian dairy products, Ukrainian chocolate, Tajik dried fruit and nuts and European vegetables.