10:27 01.12.2014

Russia, Belarus failed to agree over sanctioned products transit

3 min read
Russia, Belarus failed to agree over sanctioned products transit

The Russian and Belarusian veterinary services failed to reach a consensus over a problem that arose after Rosselkhoznadzor, the Russian agriculture watchdog, banned transit of the sanctioned products from Belarus via Russia.

The parties failed to reach an agreement over the transit of vegetable products via the Customs Union states, the Russian watchdog agency said after talks between the two countries' delegations led by Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergei Dankvert and Belarusian Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture Igor Brylo.

"The Russian delegation acknowledged the continued transit of vegetable products from Belarus to Kazakhstan through Russia, despite such movement being allowed only through checkpoints on the Russian national border. It was also noted that such vegetable products are dangerous in quarantine and phytosanitary respects both for Russia and for Belarus proper," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Belarus has insisted that it is not in a position to ban transit of vegetable products, meant for Kazakhstan, via Russia.

Also, many differences remain over transit of animal products, Rosselkhoznadzor told Interfax. The agency is hoping to resolve them at the talks due in Minsk on December 1-2.

Rosselkhoznadzor says Belarus has until December 1 to submit its official position over the ban of transit through Belarusian checkpoints of the sanctioned goods bound for Kazakhstan and other third countries.

Furthermore, new regulations, more up-to-date with the current situation, must be introduced for cooperation between the state regulators, in particular, at checkpoints, to ensure a more efficient information exchange.

The new rules introduced by Rosselkhoznadzor from November 24, 2014, allow sanctioned products to be transited to other countries only through Russian checkpoints. This became necessary after large quantities of banned products brought in from Belarus, ostensibly meant for Kazakhstan, remained in Russia.

The delegations also discussed the massive smuggling of regulated and quarantined products coming in from Belarus and accompanied by false shipping documentation. In particular, there have been attempts to bring in from Belarus meat products made in Germany, the Netherlands and Poland disguised as Brazilian ones. "Nor should it be forgotten that Poland is a country that was affected by the African swine fever virus," the statement said.

"The Belarusian veterinary service also failed to notice that over 10,000 tonnes of pork was supplied ostensibly from Montenegro to Belarus for further transit, whereas the total number of Montenegrin pigs does not exceed 18,000," Rosselkhoznadzor said.

After Russia imposed economic counter-sanctions, Belarus started to supply products to Russia not only in bigger quantities, but of the types it had not supplied before. Rosselkhoznadzor has detected large quantities of meet, fruit and vegetable contraband.

The situation around products smuggled in from Belarus highlighted the need for relevant requirements and rules to be promptly unified across the Customs Union, Rosselkhoznadzor said.

Russia has banned meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable products from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia and Norway since August 7 in response to anti-Russian sanctions imposed by these countries over the events in Ukraine.

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