Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Mykola Prysiazhniuk told reporters in Moscow on Friday that he was satisfied with his talks with Gennady Onishchenko, director of Russia's consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, on resuming supplies of Ukrainian confectionery to Russia, which were banned on July 29th.
"Ukraine and Russia have decided to set up a joint work group to harmonize the two countries' consumer protection requirements. The group will meet twice a year in order to harmonize the quality standards and requirements, including those in the sphere of information. We agreed to step up the operations of Ukrainian laboratories that will monitor the quality of Ukrainian products supplied to Russia. We are generally satisfied with the talks. We had a constructive discussion and reached an understanding," Prysyazhnyuk said. He said that supplies of confectionery produced by Roshen Corporation would hopefully resume in the nearest time. Onishchenko said in turn that Ukrainian confectionery supplies to the Russian market would resume after "certain access procedures" and inspections of Ukrainian factories, with every batch to be controlled. He said he wouldn't call the outcome of the negotiations "a breakthrough". According to him, Russia still has a lot of questions and "a long list of complaints" concerning the protection of consumer rights". However, he said, it would be wrong to describe the situation as "a trade war". Meanwhile, the Russian Customs Service has put almost all Ukrainian commodities on a so-called "risk list". As a result, since Wednesday shipments from Ukraine have been blocked at the Russian border. Valeriy Muntiyan, the government envoy for cooperation with Russia and the CIS, said in a comment on Friday that Ukraine had not received any official documents from Russia confirming violations of Russian customs laws or regulations by Ukrainian exporters. Opposition MP Andriy Pavlovsky said that Ukraine should demand international sanctions against Russia through the WTO. "Ukraine and Russia are members of the World Trade Organization. The WTO has certain trade rules: they identify cases in which countries can introduce sanctions and stop the flow of goods. A country that violates the rules faces tough international sanctions," Pavlovsky said.