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Monday, October 14, 2013

Russian watchdog prepared to open market to new Georgian winemakers

14.10.2013. Russia's public health watchdog is prepared to allow new Georgian alcohol products onto the country's market under guarantees from the Georgian authorities.

"Russia is currently considering the issue of allowing in, under guarantees from Georgia's National Wine Agency, some enterprises that were not permitted to ship," Russia's chief public health officer, Federal Consumer Rights Protection Service (Rospotrebnadzor) head Gennady Onischenko said.

He said this will happen if Georgia provides guarantees that winemakers will address violations found by the Russian watchdog.

"We're prepared to consider this issue next week," Onischenko said. "We're prepared to take this step, despite statements by the person holding the highest government post of Georgia that are below elementary norms of etiquette. We attribute this artefact to the middle of autumn, when the particulars of the psyches of certain categories of people exhibit themselves more keenly," he said.

Onischenko said on October 8 that the watchdog would not allow into Russia 28 alcohol products that were presented for registration by Georgian producers, as these products do not meet the state requirements.

The head of Georgia's National Wine Agency, Levan Davitashvili said that hopefully negotiations with the Russian watchdog would lead to winemakers whose products had been rejected for one reason or another gaining access to the Russian market.

"We had negotiations with the Russian side on this issue and we sent Rospotrebnadzor an official letter that states that the quality of Georgian win shipped to Russia will be guaranteed in each specific case," Davitashvili said.

He said another round of consultations with representatives of Rospotrebnadzor will be held on October 14-15.

"We expect that the problems that have arisen with access to the Russian market in regard to certain types of Georgian wine products will be resolved," Davitashvili said.

Russia has imported more than 6 million liters of alcohol products from Georgia since the summer of 2013 in 1,739 shipments from 22 producers, Rospotrebnadzor has reported.

Russia banned imports of wine and mineral water from Georgia in 2006, citing concerns about quality. In early February 2013, the two countries agreed on a mechanism to reopen the Russian market to Georgian products that calls for Russian inspectors to visit Georgia and government registration of Georgian products in Russia for shipments to begin. Three teams of Rospotrebnadzor inspectors have visited Georgia.

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