European Commission decides to liberalize EU market for Moldovan wine – Commissioner Ciolos

The European Commission has made decision to liberalize the European Union market for alcoholic produce from Moldova, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos told the Publika TV channel of Chisinau by telephone on Wednesday.      

Commissioner Ciolos stressed that the market liberalization decision for Moldovan wine was taken as an advance – without waiting for the signature of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) or its coming into effect.    

“This means that for Moldovan wines there will be no restriction at the European market in either volume of supply or in tariffs. As for wine quality, there are standards, which all wines must meet. Moldovan wines correspond to these requirements”, said the EU Commissioner.   

In his words, the European Commission has confirmed that until the present moment, no problems have arisen with the quality of Moldovan wines.  

“In the near time, this decision of the European Commission’s will be approved by the EU council of foreign ministers and by the European Parliament. The DCFTA will require more time to sign and ratify. That’s why in order to give Moldovan wines an unlimited access to the European market already now, the European Commission has made such decision on market liberalization for Moldovan alcoholic produce. These are quality wines gaining popularity in Europe. To my mind, this decision, from both strategic and economic points of view, should permit investing in the Moldovan wine sector, with an account of this perspectives for Moldova to come onto the European market”, said Commissioner Dacian Ciolos.        

Commenting the European Commission’s decision, Moldovan Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Vasile Bumacov recommended local wine companies to attach more attention to promotion of their products onto international markets. Though this work has been entrusted to the new National Vine and Wine Bureau established by government earlier this month, “wine producers must also care about their sales and market expansion”, stressed the minister.          

In March 2006, Russia's Chief Federal Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onischenko, who heads RosPotrebNadzor – the Russian federal supervisory agency for consumer goods quality, banned the imports and selling of Moldovan wines in Russia under the pretext that they were allegedly of low quality. Then, hundreds of thousand bottles of Moldovan wine were withdrawn from Russian shops and warehouses and crushed by bulldozers.    

All that happened right after Chisinau had introduced a new regime of exports of Transnistria-made goods – exclusively through customs registration with the Moldovan central authorities. Some experts perceived that embargo as “a show whipping of Moldova” for its turning its face toward European integration, for its demanding to pull out Russian troops from Transnistria in accordance with the 1999 OSCE Istanbul Summit accords, and for its attempt to put Transnistria’s exports under centralized customs control.
The wine exports were resumed only in November 2007 when bilateral relations between the two countries grew warmer. The then-MoldovaVin Agri-Industrial Agency had never received from RosPotrebNadzor any documentary proof of low quality of Moldovan wines – neither during that first embargo nor after it.   
And this past September 11, Onischenko imposed a second loud ban on wine imports from Moldova – once again on the grounds of allegedly poor wine quality. And once again this decision followed shortly after the Russian side, namely the Russian President’s Special Representative on Transnistria, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, stated that Moldova’s approximation with the European Union will inevitably be detrimental to bilateral trade. The RosPotrebNadzor chief stated on September 10 that the ban may be lifted only when the Russian side comes to see that the Republic of Moldova has realized “concrete measures to resolve these systemic problems”.     

Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti named this step as “non-friendly, non-fraternal and non-Christian-like”, and hinted that Russia is again pressing on Moldova in an attempt to make the republic give up its Euro-integration choice.    

The European Union has stood up in Moldova’s support and passed a political decision on market liberalization for Moldovan wine. Until presently, Moldova has used to run trade with the European Union in the autonomous trade preferences regime, according to with quotas are set on the tax-free supplying of some Moldovan goods to Europe. In 2012, for example, the wine quota was set at 18 million liters, but Moldova managed to supply only 16 million. The 2013 quota is 24 million liters.  

Adapted from Infotag