Majority of Georgian wine, farm products to return to Russia by June – minister

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(Interfax – TBILISI, April 8, 2013) The return of Georgian wine, mineral water, fruit, vegetables and other produce to Russia is going successfully and supplies might resume by June, Georgian Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze said at a briefing on Monday.

“We have stepped forward in both directions,” Kirvalidze said when commenting on the second inspection the Russian consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, carried out last week. Russian experts inspected another 35 wineries to decide on whether or not to allow exports of their products to Russia.

A delegation of the Georgian National Food Agency held talks with executives of the Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Oversight Service, Rosselkhoznadzor, on the resumption of Georgian produce exports to Russia.

“The preliminary data, which will be published officially at the ministry’s website tomorrow, shows that over 60 Georgian companies – wine and mineral water producers – will be allowed to provide samples of their products for state registration in Russia,” Kirvalidze said.

The Russian side gave the same positive answer on exports of vegetables and other products, which “is as important, if not more important, taking into account how many Georgian producers are waiting to return to this market,” Kirvalidze said.

“We have agreed in principle with the Russian side on technical issues regarding phytosanitary and veterinary certificates as well as quality monitoring of product safety,” Kirvalidze said.

“Our forecast is that the majority of Georgian companies will complete registration of their products in Russia and will resume supplies by summer,” Kirvalidze said.

Kirvalidze said that a third issue, restoring transit of Turkish goods to Russia through Georgia through the Verkhny Lars border crossing, had been raised at the talks with Rosselkhoznadzor and had been supported by Russia and Georgia as well.

Rospotrebnadzor Chief Gennady Onishchenko told Interfax earlier on Monday that his agency was ready to test samples of products of Georgian wineries, which were inspected last week.