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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 00:44 GMT
Russian ends trade ban on Moldova
Moldova's wine industry is heavily reliant on Russia
Russia is to lift a ban on wine and meat imports from Moldova, President Vladimir Putin has confirmed.

Mr Putin made the announcement in Belarus at a summit meeting for states of the former Soviet Union.

Russia banned the import of wine and meat from Moldova last March, citing health and quality concerns.

Correspondents say Moscow's move is motivated by a desire to win Moldovan support for its ambitions of joining the World Trade Organisation.

Moldovan officials had threatened to block a Russian bid for WTO membership after Moscow introduced its ban last March.

Moldova traditionally exports some 80% of its wine to Russia.

Quality controls

"We agreed on the resumption of supplies of meat from Moldova, and wine," Mr Putin said in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

"Experts of both countries have done a lot in Moldova and in Russia to verify the quality of agricultural products," he said.

Teams of Russian and Moldovan experts will monitor the quality of Moldovan goods at its source, Mr Putin added.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin said the negotiation process had benefited Moldova.

"The effort has been good for Moldova. Enterprises and wineries have been subjected to serious inspections, and a central governmental laboratory has been formed for certifying products."

Moldova's wine and meat industries protested loudly against the imposition of the bans earlier this year.

There were fears that companies heavily reliant on trade with Russia could face bankruptcy if the trade embargo was not lifted.

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