Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Russia imposes ban on some dairy imports from Belarus

Russias consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has imposed a ban on deliveries of some Belarusian dairy products, citing the producers failure to obtain necessary permits in accordance with Russias new food standards, RIA Novosti said.

The Belarusian companies have not obtained approvals required by Russias new regulations enacted as far back as December 2008, the news agency quoted Russias chief sanitary officer, Gennady Onishchenko, as saying.

The ban on almost 500 types of Belarusian diary products was put into effect on June 6.
Rospotrebnadzor had voiced concern over failure by "Belarusian milk producers to rush to comply with Russia`s laws," Mr. Onishchenko said. "But no proper response followed."

Almost 500 types of Belarusian dairy products do not have the permits, he noted. "This circumstance is forcing us to respond adequately," he said. "Today I have signed an appropriate letter to the Federal Customs Service, which means that access for these products has been suspended to the entire territory of Russia."

Deliveries of Belarusian dairy products to Russia were under discussion at Prime Minister Vladimir Putins Friday meeting in the Belgorod province with the governors of a number of central Russian provinces and representatives of farming companies. Mr. Putin emphasized the need to ensure that government subsidies provided to agricultural producers should be equal in Belarus and Russia.

The government subsidies that Belarus gives to its dairy producers reach 24 percent, whereas such subsidies in Russia account for only three percent, the premier said.

Yevgeny Savchenko, governor of the Belgorod province, said that Belarus exports of whole milk to Russia total 2 million tons a year. "Belarus currently ruins our dairy industry," he said. "Maybe this is being done purposefully."

"Of course, this is not being done purposefully," Mr. Putin replied. "I told Alyaksandr Ryhoravich [Lukashenka] about that [government subsidies]. He is an original man. His answer was, Your producers should not whine. They should reduce costs."