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IDS Borjomi Confirms Talks with Russia's Consumer Protection Agency
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Sep.'11 / 00:32

IDS Borjomi International said it was in talks with "relevant authorities in Russia and Georgia" regaining return of Borjomi mineral water on the Russian market.

Nataliya Matusevich, business development director of IDS Borjomi International, said in a statement on September 7, that the company had been in contact with the Russian authorities regarding return of Borjomi mineral water in Russia since 2006, when Moscow banned import of Borjomi citing consumer safety concerns.

"We have filed a number of applications and requests on the subject matter with the Russian Federal Service on Customer’s Rights Protection," Matusevich said.

IDS Borjomi International, owned by a private equity and investment management firm Salford Capital Partners Inc., represents a group of enterprises producing bottled mineral waters in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. IDS Borjomi Georgia, formerly Georgian Glass & Mineral Waters Company, is the group’s Georgian subsidiary, which owns ‘Borjomi’ trademark and which holds an exclusive right for extraction and production of Borjomi mineral waters.

The group's headquarters in Kiev released the statement after Russia's consumer protection agency, RosPotrebNadzor, said on September 6 that its officials met with a senior executive from IDS Borjomi International to discuss possible return of Borjomi mineral water back to the Russian market.

When last month RosPotrebNadzor said that it had been applied for consideration of return of Borjomi mineral water back to the Russian market, IDS Borjomi International's local subsidiary in Georgia rejected it, saying that it had not applied for such request.

Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister, Nino Kalandadze, said on September 5, that no such request had been sent by the Georgian company; she also suggested that such "speculations" by the Russian authorities about thier readiness to allow Georgian products back to the Russian market was related with ongoing Swiss-mediated talks between Tbilisi and Moscow on Russia's WTO entry terms - the next round of talks is scheduled for September 12. The Georgian negotiators, however, say the issue of trade embargo has never been raised by Tbilisi and does not represent part of those talks, because Moscow will have to lift that politically-motivated embargo when and if Russia joins WTO.

In thier public statements officials in Tbilisi show skepticism about the need of return of the Georgian products back to the Russian market; along with minerals waters, Russia also banned import of Georgian wines in 2006.

President Saakashvili said on September 3, that Russian market is "based on plunder, piracy, hypocrisy and illegality" and even if Moscow allowed Georgian products back to its market, "one day they may again kick you out." He also added, that because Russia still considered Georgia to be "a huge problem", Tbilisi "should not expect anything good" from Russia.

In an apparent attempt to distance its Georgian subsidiary from talks with the Russia's consumer protection agency, IDS Borjomi International stressed in its September 7 statement, that "the issue of resumption of the Borjomi supplies to Russia lies within the competence of the Headquarters of IDS Borjomi International."

"Negotiations and correspondence with the relevant authorities in Russia and Georgia are conducted by the representatives of the Group Headquarters," the company said.

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