Russia: No technical objections to lift boycott on Turkish tomatoes

The decision to lift the boycott of Turkish tomatoes lies with the Russian government, but the Ministry of Agriculture sees “no technical obstacles" to not lifting the boycott. That is the conclusion of the negotiations between Turkey and Russia last week. After concluding the negotiations, the Russian State Secretary of Agriculture Evgeniy Gromiko said: "We will share our view that there are no technical objections with the Russian government."

This paves the way to lifting the boycott, although during the press conference, Gromiko made it clear that it may take months before imports of Turkish tomatoes can start again, in order to give producers the opportunity to plan their production. According to Russia, USD 3 billion has been invested in greenhouse cultivation over the last decade. From the Russian negotiations, these investments and the protection of Russian tomato growers were constantly emphasized.

Probably it will be mainly big Turkish companies that grow as well as market tomatoes that will gain access to the Russian market. The Russian phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor earlier this month inspected some large tomato companies. Traceability is an important argument of the Russians in choosing for major exporters.

"The obstacle to lifting the boycott is the government's decree," said the Turkish State Secretary for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Mehmet Danis. "We expect the Russian government to adopt an amendment to the decree to open the road to tomato imports."

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