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Russia bans food imports from Bulgaria

Russia has banned imports of all agricultural produce from Bulgaria as of September 1, over forged certificates from the EU country, Russia's agriculture watchdog said in a statement Thursday.

A wide range of food imports from Bulgaria is already subject to Russia's food embargo, which Russia introduced last year in response to Western sanctions imposed on the country over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

The new restrictions were introduced after Bulgaria acknowledged that a number of export and re-export agricultural certificates were false, agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement. Rosselkhoznadzor has imposed a temporary ban on all agricultural imports and re-exports from Bulgaria.

On April 25, Russia imposed a ban on re-exported fruit and vegetables from Bulgaria over a number of cases involving fake certificates. Rosselkhoznadzor suspected that exported apples, which according to Bulgarian certificates were being re-exported from Brazil, Morocco and China, actually came from EU countries, the Interfax news agency reported at the time.

Russia's customs notes drop banned food items within market
The head of Russia's Federal Customs Union, Andrey Belyaninov, reported that there has been noticeably fewer instances of illegal food products on the Russian market since August 6, when the directive to destroy contraband entered into force.

“The volume of these goods markedly decreased after they started being destroyed. When we began destroying (contraband), the heads of border customs authorities started reporting that much of it has stopped because it was a serious blow to the financial results of those companies, which were taking part in such activities (i.e. importing banned food products),” Belyanov said, as quoted by the publication TASS.

Leasing land in Russia get more difficult foreign companies
Foreign investors looking to invest in Russia by developing or working with Russian soil could, in the future, be restricted to just 3 – 10 years of use of a particular plot, according to Russia's Ministry of Agriculture. Another consideration would be to restrict foreign investors in terms of the amount of land used, such as no more than 5 percent of any municipality. The agency is also considering banning companies with foreign beneficiaries from acquiring land. All of this in the name of preserving the integrity of Russian soil, according to the agency.

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