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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Producers Shrug Off New Quality Controls

Only 20 percent of Russian producers have applied for a quality certificate which has been compulsory for all goods since May, a Russian testing official said Friday.

Most imported goods, which have required a quality approval since July 1, are also still entering the country without a certificate, according to customs officials.

Pavel Shalayev, director of one of the 300 institutes accredited in Russia for testing Russian and imported products said that the lack of testing is a problem because Russia has become a dumping ground for unsafe, poor quality products.

He said that because of high demand, traders had found a market for untested, low quality goods.

Shalayev, who runs 15 laboratories that test goods from electrical plugs to home electronics and gas heaters, said the quality of local Russian products had fallen recently as state control had weakened. The laboratory has discovered that 10 percent of the electrical plugs it tests are faulty.

Shalayev said that importers were also increasingly bringing in cheap and low quality consumer products, confident that anything sells in Russia.

As of May 1, Russian goods have required a new safety certificate, and since July 1, imported consumer goods are also supposed to carry the same Russian quality certificate.

But Shalayev said only about 20 percent of Russian producers and very few importers had applied for safety certificates.

A spot check at Sheremetyevo-2 Airport on Thursday also revealed that customs officers ignore the new requirements on imported goods on the grounds that the law, though signed by President Boris Yeltsin in June, has not yet been published.

Another reason why Russian producers and foreign importers avoid the tests may be fear of delays. Western food importers said last week it would be impossible to get Russian certificates for every food item before the food went rotten.

Boris Chumakov, deputy director of Rostest, which has over 100 Russian laboratories accredited with Gosstandart, agreed that Rostest lacked the funding, labs and specialists to adequately test all goods.

Shalayev said that Gosstandard has hired foreign laboratories to issue certificates to importers based in foreign countries. He said this would help avoid bottlenecks when firms start applying for quality certificates.

If products already have an accredited quality certificate, they can get a Russian certificate there or in Russia without further testing, he said.

Eventually, about half of the products aimed for the Russian market will be tested and certified abroad, he added.