On March 27, a meeting between Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor Sergey Dankvert and Deputy Director of the State Institution “Main State Inspection on Seed Growing, Quarantine and Plant Protection” of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter referred to as “the Inspection”) Alexander Pavlovich took place in Moscow.
The Belarusian delegation was also represented by the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Customs Committee and the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Russian Federation. The representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Customs Service participated in the meeting on the Russian side.
Director of the Department for Sanitary, Phytosanitary and Veterinary Measures Igor Gayevsky and his colleagues from other subdivisions of the supranational organization attended the event on behalf of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).
Sergey Dankvert noted that the location of Belarus, the state borders of which coincide with the external outline of the EAEU territory, entailed a large amount of products moving across it territory, including those shipped to Russia. This circumstance places certain obligations upon Belarus as regards re-exported product control and transportation tracing.
However, in recent years, the Rosselkhoznadzor has been continuously facing the attempts to import fruit and vegetable products to Russia via Belarus that are accompanied by the certificates issued by the Belarusian party containing false information with respect to their country of origin.
The Rosselkhoznadzor has repeatedly asked the Inspection to verify the authenticity of phytosanitary certificates for the products that undergo customs clearance in the Republic of Belarus and are re-exported to the Russian Federation.
The Rosselkhoznadzor, in its turn, worked from 2016 to 2017 on verifying the authenticity of the phytosanitary certificates accompanying the quarantinable products entering Russia via the Republic of Belarus. These activities included numerous talks and active working correspondence with the official representatives of the dozens of countries allegedly being the manufacturers of the products entering Russia according to documents, as well as with the European Commission. Based on the results of this work, the Rosselkhoznadzor had to impose restrictions on supplies via the Republic of Belarus and to permit only the direct entry of plant products from 33 Asian and African countries through border checkpoints at the Russian section of the EAEU external border. These countries included India, Jordan, Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Somali, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Uganda, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Liberia, San Marino, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Nepal, Madagascar, Djibouti, Zambia, etc.
It should be noted that immediately after the introduction of these measures the products allegedly produced in the said countries stopped coming to Russia.
It was stressed that the competent authority of the Republic of Belarus had failed to investigate these facts.
Numerous cases where products enter the country accompanied by re-export certificates containing false information concerning their country of origin are indicative of the lack of control and put into question the credibility of such certification.
Unfortunately, the repeated appeals by the Rosselkhoznadzor to the EEC to develop mechanisms that will help to regulate re-export flows from Belarus to Russia have not produced the desired effect.
So far, lack of reliable statistical data on amount of plant products imported and cleared in the Republic of Belarus, as well as the unavailability of integrated information systems to ensure the traceability of product movement within the common territory of the EAEU result in falsification of information about the country of origin of products shipped to the Russian Federation.
The Rosselkhoznadzor explained that the present working meeting had been organized in order to make the representatives of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation aware of the need to adopt urgent measures in order to put things right in this field.
Since, in this case, the responsibility for product movement falls on the Belarusian party, the Rosselkhoznadzor reserves the right to impose a ban on plant product re-export from the Republic of Belarus.