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Last updateMon, 23 May 2016 12am

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Not far from the border with Russia, Belarusian police seized 32 tractor trailers filled with vegetables and fruit, which would have been considered contraband under Russia's current list of sanctions, that were headed for the eastern market.

Belarus is losing trade turnover because of the ongoing trade sanctions between Russia and the European Union. The country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Makei, said that Belarus is suffering because of the embargo.

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.

According to a publication of Attek Center for Certification and Experts, over the last few weeks Belarussian customs officers seized about 270 tonnes of sanctioned fruits and vegetables at the border that were headed for the Russian market.

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.

The initiative of the Federal Customs Service of Russia (FCS) was designed to control traffic crossing the borders of Kazakhstan and Belarus to improve the effectiveness of seizing sanctioned products with false phytosanitary certificates, the head of the agency Andrey Belyaninov confirmed.

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