Rospotrebnadzor may forbid imports of Moldovan alcoholic beverages starting tomorrow

Starting from Wednesday, the Russian Federation may well forbid the imports of alcoholic production from Moldova, the RosPotrebNadzor [Russian federal supervisory agency for consumer goods quality] announced in its statement.

The main reason for banning the imports of Moldovan alcoholic beverages to the Russian market was fact that the RosPotrebNadzor has lately detected eight consignments of Moldovan alcohol beverages (two consignments of wines and six – of brandies) that do not meet the safety norms in terms of dibutylphthalate and diethylhexyl phthalate concentration.

“These beverages were produced by Vinaria Purcari, the Cricova Winery and the Aroma distillery. Moreover, in some consignments, the concentration of hazardous substances exceeded the norm 80-90-times. The laboratory tests carried out on brandy samples provided for state registration, as well as in two other cases revealed that the permitted concentration of chemical substances has been exceeded. The laboratory expertise continues and the expert findings concerning the Moldovan alcoholic beverages are currently in the stage of processing,” the RosPotrebNadzor says in its statement.  

Yesterday, Gennady Onischenko, Head of RosPotrebNadzor [Russian federal supervisory agency for consumer goods quality] and Russia's Chief Federal Sanitary Inspector, told Interfax news agency that there are serious reasons to be concerned about the quality of Moldovan wines.  

“On Tuesday evening a final, systemic decision on the matter will be taken. I do not rule out the fact that today, we may well announce about the import restrictions on Moldova wines that will come into force tomorrow,” said Onishenko, noting that “the embargo will be in force until the Russian Federation makes sure that the Moldovan Government is really dealing with this problem and does not let matters drift.”

According to the federal supervisory agency for consumer goods quality, since early 2013, as many as 3,901 consignments of alcoholic beverages and wine-making materials totaling 25,136,847 liters, have been imported to the Russian Federation from Moldova.

Until August 2013 the RosPotrebNadzor had no claims to the quality of Moldovan wines. The first pretentions emerged when Moldova did not share Russia’s opinion on the health hazards posed by the Ukrainian candies ‘Roshen’. Moreover, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who visited Moldova last week, warned about the imminent trade problems with the Russian Federation, if the Republic of Moldova continues to advance on its European integration path.

Immediately after the scandal with the Ukrainian ‘Roshen’ sweets, the RosPotrebNadzor banned the import of several consignments of Moldovan alcoholic beverages – about 28.4 thousand liters in all – which makes 0.11% of the overall import quota.

Meanwhile, even Russian experts think that the suddenly-emerged claims to the quality of Moldovan wines are politically-biased. The head of the Research Center on the Federal and Regional Alcohol Market, Vadim Drobiz said in an interview with the ‘Vechernyaya Moskva’ [literally ‘Evening Moscow’] Russian local daily newspaper, that the introduction of embargo on the import of Moldovan wines is “quite possible”.  

“The possible introduction of import restrictions has a political reason. Now, Moldova, just as Ukraine and Armenia, is going to sign a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union. In this context, the Russian Federation is exerting pressure on these countries, including in the form of a possible trade embargo,” he said.  

Dossier: Until 2006, Moldovan wines used to account for more than 60% Russian market of imported wines. After the 2006-2007 memorable embargo imposed by the Russian Federation on wine imports, Moldova managed to restore about 10% of the market only by the first quarter of 2010. But, after Moldovan authorities announced the June 28th – the Day of Soviet Occupation, the RosPotrebNadzor’s attitude towards Moldovan wines worsened again; one revealed dangerous substances in them, and over 1 million liters were returned back to Moldova under the pretext of the poor quality of products. Moreover, many Moldovan winemakers, exhausted with RosPotrebNadzor’s impediments, have reoriented their exports to other countries. Nevertheless, the Russian Federation remains the leading consumer of Moldovan wines, as over a third of the overall Moldovan exports are oriented to the Russian Federation. In 2013, the export of Moldovan alcoholic beverages to the Russian Federation exceeded 25 million liters. In 1Q2013, Moldova exported alcoholic beverages worth US$56.99 million in all, including alcoholic drinks assessed at US$17.04 million to the Russian Federation.

Adapted from Infotag