Russia may soon drop its ban on import of Georgian wines and mineral waters, Georgian and Russian officials said after talks in Moscow on Monday.
Georgian delegation led by head of the National Wine Agency at the Ministry of Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili, met head of the Russian state consumer protection agency, RosPotrebNadzor Gennady Onishchenko in Moscow on February 4.
Davitashvili said after the talks that Russia might resume import of Georgia products “perhaps before the end of this spring.”
“I think even earlier, but let’s not prejudge,” Onishchenko responded, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass.
Onishchenko said that three groups of experts from RosPotrebNadzor would travel to Georgia next week to inspect wine-producing factories. He also said that up to 60 enterprises from Georgia expressed readiness to resume exports to Russia.
While drop of ban will apply to bottled Georgian wines, import of wine materials from Georgia will still remain banned, according to Onishchenko, who also said that import of wine materials would increase risk of counterfeiting Georgian wines. He said that this issue might become a subject for further talks at a later stage.
RosPotrebNadzor ordered ban on import of Georgian wines, mineral waters and other products in 2006 citing consumer safety concerns. Georgia at the time condemned embargo as part of Russia’s attempt to undermine Georgia’s economy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 20, 2012 that trade ties between the two countries, including import of Georgian products on the Russian market, should be “de-politicized”; next day Russia’s first deputy foreign minister, Andrey Denisov, said that from the political point of view the issue of entry of the Georgian products on the Russian market was resolved, but “only purely technical procedures” were remaining.