4 Oct 2017 13:04

Agriculture Ministry wants no more than 50,000 t of Turkish tomatoes on Russian market in inter-season period - Dvorkovich

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) - The Agriculture Ministry is proposing to allow no more than 50,000 tonnes of Turkish tomatoes on the Russian market after the end of the growing season in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said.

"The Agriculture Ministry's proposal is up to 50,000 tonnes. The period is the very earliest end of this year to the start of next year, when it's not the season here," Dvorkovich told reporters.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Yevgeny Gromyko said earlier that at the end of September the ministry sent the government proposals for the possible resumption of imports of tomatoes from Turkey.

Gromyko said it is important to ensure the safety of imports and traceability of the product. "So far this does not exist. Turkey presented seven enterprises that can ensure this. We've selected, though not seven," he said, without specifying the number of enterprises selected.

President Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Ankara later that Russia and Turkey were close to resolving the tomato issue. "There are issues related to tomatoes, work is underway. Representatives of the agriculture ministries of the two countries and oversight bodies are in constant contact. A resolution is drawing near," Peskov said.

Russia banned imports of fruit and vegetables from Turkey as of January 1, 2016 after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syria in November 2015. After Turkey officially apologized for the incident, Russia gradually lifted bans on certain products, and now only tomatoes are still subject to restrictions.

Russia is willing to allow imports of tomatoes from a limited number of suppliers and only during the period of the year when there is a shortage of domestic product on the market.

In turn, Russia is interested in starting to export meat products to Turkey. Dvorkovich said earlier that Russian agricultural products, foremost meat, could be granted access to the Turkish market by the end of this year.

Russia is primarily trying to enter the Turkish market with meat products, he said. "There is progress, there were inspections. They asked additional questions. We're responding. They are saying clearly that they are ready, if we meet all requirements. We are now persuading them that we are meeting them," Dvorkovich said.