NEWSLINK: Russia & Georgia: Wine-Tasting

Tblisi, Georgia, File Photo with Building with Tower on Hillside and City Buildings in Valley in Distance

[Russia & Georgia: wine tasting – Financial Times – Isabel Gorst – March 7, 2013 –]

The Financial Times covers preparations to lift Russia’s ban on Georgian wine and mineral water imports, as the two countries look towards trade as an initial foundation for improved relations:

Sanitary inspectors in Russia look set to lift a ban on Georgian wine and mineral water imports imposed in 2006 for reasons that probably had more to do with politics than hygiene.

The end of the embargo would mark a small step towards the restoration of ties between the two countries that fought a war in 2008 over Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

… Russia’s consumer protection watchdog, said 36 Georgian wine producers could submit samples of their products for inspection ­ a prelude to a case by case lifting of the embargo …

At the same time, the logistics of Russian safety inspections could prove a drama unto itself:

Russian sanitary inspectors have a reputation for fastidiousness bordering on paranoia. Only today … the deputy head of the Russian agricultural products agency, warned … of the risks of importing Indian beef or American milk that can make “women grow beards.”

Against this backdrop it would not be difficult … to find a reason to uphold the ban …

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