Moldova doesn’t recognize the Customs Union
Last year Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine signed association agreements with the EU, which will begin fully operating when all 28 members of the EU and the European Parliament ratify the agreements. According to the agreement, Moldova should completely open its market to European goods. Russia is concerned about the fact that EU products may be re-exported through Moldova to the CIS and the Custom Union’s market. So Russia introduced a temporary ban on imports of some Moldavian products. Later Rosselkhoznadzor permitted some companies to continue exporting apples, pears, quince, apricots and peaches to Russia.
Alexei Alekseyenko, assistant head of Rosselkhoznadzor, says that the Agency hopes to maintain Moldovan imports, but expects guarantees of the safety of the products that come from Moldova to the Russian market: “Here we encountered some quite serious problems. And what you spoke about, that not all manufacturers of Moldova are presented in the Russian market, is connected with this. Of course we would like to see all the companies having the same access, but we have received such a guarantee only from Gagauzia.”
Alekseyenko says that in this autonomous territorial entity in the south of Moldova, for the first time in many years he visited a kolkhoz: “And it was an exemplary, splendid farm. They do not receive any subsidies from the state, but nevertheless they produce a huge amount of products that are in demand on the Russian market.”
At the same time, Alekseyenko is disappointed with Moldova’s position: “When we talked with the leadership of the competent services of Moldova, which should give the state guarantees for products that come from all enterprises, we faced an unexpected challenge for us. We had prepared a draft protocol on the negotiations, in which there was an important point that we are ensured to comply with the requirements of the legislation on product safety, which are provided by the legislation of Russia and the Customs Union. Our colleagues did not want to sign this protocol, they said that they would comply with the law, but refused to sign. Moreover, the failure was due to the fact that they did not recognize the existence of the Customs Union. That is, this is quite a strange position.”
As for the prospects for supplying products to the Russian market from Moldova, Alekseyenko thinks that there are very interesting ones. “Our economies and our trade would simply complement each other. Russian agricultural production still cannot provide full production in the country itself in some cases, for some positions that would even be economically very profitable, and Moldovan products are those products that we buy from other countries, quite distant ones, like Latin America.”
Regarding the interests of investors, Alekseyenko says that it involves politics: “There is nothing more attractive for investment than stability. Stability is just not enough. In general, of course, the relationship of trade should be based on a healthy pragmatism, there should not be any side interests, all other interests must recede. In order to ensure such stability, we suggest using our certification tracking system. And then we will get the opportunity to cut the products produced by third countries, third enterprises, then no one can disguise the party of products manufactured by one company for products produced by an enterprise which has the right to export to Russia.”