Belarusian exporters continue to increase exports of fruits and vegetables to Russia, filling a hole in the produce market share that opened up following the embargo. As a result, imports into Belarus have simultaneously been on the rise alongside its export volumes largely due to Russia's counter-measures. Frozen fruits, vegetables, lettuce, onions, stone fruit, garlic, apples and pears are the sectors that suffered the most in the Russian market because it is difficult to find replacements to these types of produce. However, these are also the categories that have seen impressive increases in Belarusian imports over the course of the year with distinct increases in exports of these categories supplied to the Russian market in 2015.
Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) requested the State Inspection for Seed Production, Quarantine and Plant Protection of the Republic of Belarus that as of March 1, 2016, to not process plant products originating from Liberia, including fresh mushrooms, fresh iceberg lettuce, fresh pears and fresh apples fresh. The agency also had the same request for products originating from India in transit through Belarus.
According to a press release, the head of Russia's Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) Sergey Dankvert together with the Director of the Main State Inspection Service for Seed Production, Quarantine and Plant Protection of Belarus Leonid Pleshko confirmed instances of illegal re-export from Europe which were shipped as if they were Moldovan grown produce.
The newly opened trading center of Belarusian goods - “Mytishinskoy Fair” – in the Moscow Region aims to promote imported products from neighboring countries.
Shortly into the New Year, inspectors of Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) are to visit enterprises, specializing in growing mushrooms; orchards as well as berry fields, the Belorussian Deputy Agriculture and Food Minister Vladimir Grakun said.
Russia's Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) made an announcement at the beginning of the month warning Belarus that if concerns over sanctioned products, which have been re-exported through the eastern neighbor, were not met with an appropriate response, then bans could be introduced against Belarus. Pavel Ljogkij, minister-counselor of the Embassy of Belarus, said in response that there is no established trend for illegal re-export adding that every instance of illegal re-export should be considered separately.