Greek fruit exports to Russia continue unhindered, both sides confirm

Greek fruit exports to Russia continue unhindered, both sides confirm

The Rural Development & Food (RDF) ministry and the Foreign ministry on Monday confirmed that the Greek fruit exports to Russia will continue unhindered following relevant statements by the head of the Russian Federation Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance "Rosselkhoznadzor" Sergei Dankvert, who underlined that cooperation with the Greek authorities is constructive, reports ANA-MPA.

By order of Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Foreign ministry secretary general for international economic relations Panagiotis Mihalos met on Friday (August 1) with Russian Ambassador to Athens Andrey Maslov to be briefed on the likelihood of a temporary ban on the imports of Greek agricultural products by Russia. Also, by order of the Foreign minister, Greece's ambassador to Moscow had relevant contacts with Russian officials.

The RDF ministry underlined that contacts with the Russian side are continuous to quickly handle any problems that could arise.

Speaking to Interfax news agency, the Rosselkhoznadzor chief has confirmed that "relations with the Phytosanitary Control Department of Greece are constructive," adding "there should be no fears as to our actions".

According to Dankvert, the date of the talks between the Russian and the Greek side to discuss a more detailed inspection of the production exported to Russia is expected to be finalised this week.

"Should the need arise, our experts can travel to Greece to conduct product inspections, before the products are shipped," he said.

Dankvert and other Rosselkhoznadzor officials last week referred to a possible ban on Greek fruit imports and vegetable production from the EU, noting that a certain quarantine-linked parasite was found in Greek peaches and nectarines.

In the meantime, the management of the Association of Greek Export and Consignment Enterprises for Fruit, Vegetables & Juices "Incofruit-Hellas" expressed content over Russia's apparent reconsideration of the ban.

"(Chief of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Sergey) Dankvert's statements that he would deliberate with Greek authorities are to a positive direction. Greek authorities should be constantly in contact with the Russians and try to take all necessary measures so that exports can proceed unhindered," Incofruit-Hellas special advisor George Polychronakis told ANA-MPA.

The Association estimates that some 40,000 tonnes of Greek peaches, apricots, plums and cherries were exported to Russia by July 31, compared to 16,000 tonnes last year and 36,000 tonnes in 2012.

According to the Association, Greek fresh fruit and vegetable exports to Russia may exceed 170,000 tonnes this year, compared to 140,000 tonnes in 2013 and 160,000 in 2012.