Russia bans imports of Moldovan wines

The RosPotrebNadzor [Russian federal supervisory agency for consumer goods quality] put an embargo on the import of Moldovan wines starting from today, until Moldova undertakes a comprehensive set of measures that will allow ensuring the high quality and safety of the supplied goods.   

According to the Russian sanitary agency, as many as 8 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, have been detected lately.

“In spite of the repeated warnings in this respect, the Moldovan side did not undertake adequate measures for ensuring the safety of its goods and for carrying out elementary laboratory controls,” RosPotrebNadzor says in its statement.    

In this context, RosPotrebNadzor mentions that out of 25,136,847 liters of alcoholic beverages shipped to the Russian Federation, only 0.9% out of the overall amount, has been supplied to the RF under the protocols of the ‘National Center for Quality Testing of Alcoholic Beverages’. Out of 3,901 consignments, only 0.4% has been shipped under the protocols of this institution. Yet, RosPotrebNadzor has verified all the supplied wines, at 100%.  

Until August 2013 the RosPotrebNadzor had no claims to the quality of Moldovan wines. The first claims emerged when Moldova did not share Russia’s opinion on the health hazards posed by the Ukrainian candies ‘Roshen’. 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.

Moreover, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who visited Moldova last week, warned about the imminent trade problems with the Russian Federation that may well arouse if the Republic of Moldova continues to advance on its European integration path.

Out of those 42 Moldovan wine-making companies that were entitled to supply alcoholic beverages to the Russian Federation in 2013, only 21 enterprises were shipping their production to the RF. The suppliers have reasoned their decision to avoid the laboratory examination at the National Center for Quality Testing of Alcoholic Beverages of Moldova by the fact that their production is anyway checked in the Russian Federation. Thus, they have to bear double expenses.  

Moldova is supplying its wines to many countries worldwide, which have never expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of the supplied production or with the concentration of harmful substance. Moreover, so far, the accusations brought by RosPotrebNadzor are also unfounded, as the Russian sanitary agency has not presented the results of the analyses to Moldovan authorities or to the wine-makers.

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