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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New EU Plant Certificates Face Delay

Russia and the European Union are looking at possibly postponing the April 1 introduction of a new certificate to accompany exports of EU plant products to Russia, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev told reporters Tuesday.

Russia has demanded a common safety certificate for EU plant and vegetable exports from April 1, which would replace 25 different national versions now in use.

It had threatened to ban exports of these products if the certificate was not adopted.

"We have discussed this issue and agreed that the April 1 deadline remains," Gordeyev said after a meeting with Marcos Kyprianou, EU Commissioner for Food Safety and Consumer Protection.

"[But] we have agreed that ... we will examine the issue of a transition period," he added.

Kyprianou said he hoped such an agreement with Russia could be reached.

"I believe in the saying 'where there is a will there is a way.' And there is a will here," Kyprianou said. "Both of us expressed our willingness and commitment to reach a conclusion as soon as possible."

He added that EU and Russia experts would start discussing the possibility of the transition period next week.

Last year Russia agreed to a transition period for adopting single safety certificates on meat imports, agreeing to accept old certificates alongside the new ones for three months after initially setting a deadline of Oct. 1.

This ended a row lasting several months and freed Russian imports from the 25-member bloc worth 1.3 billion euros ($1.69 billion) per year.

Gordeyev said the veterinary certificate scheme was working well and he had agreed with Kyprianou that if complications appeared they could be solved by veterinary experts.

Gordeyev said Russia had supported a EU proposal to sign a new bilateral veterinary agreement. He did not give details.

Moscow has banned imports of a string of plant products from EU states, including the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Estonia, saying they did not meet Russian sanitary standards.

Russia restarted from Tuesday imports of flowers, cocoa, tobacco, tea and soybeans from the Netherlands. It has said fruit and vegetables will follow from March 1.