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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Hall Prepares to Request Exemption From Market Law

City Hall plans to petition federal authorities to exempt it from enforcing migration laws banning all migrant vendors from trading in the markets, a senior City Hall official said Wednesday.

Vladimir Malyshkov, the City Hall official who oversees retail market issues, also said that before April 1, when the law comes into effect, any migrant workers with all the correct work and health permits will be allowed to trade in market places in the city.

Malyshkov's comments are the clearest indication to date on how City Hall plans to avoid the city's markets emptying after the law comes into effect.

Under new regulations that came into effect Jan. 15, foreigners must constitute no more than 40 percent of traders in food markets throughout the country. By April 1, foreigners will be banned from trading in these markets altogether.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told State Duma deputies in January that if the legislation barring foreigners from trading in markets proved ineffective, the government might consider amending it.

Moscow has been particularly affected by the recently adopted measures, as few Russians are prepared to take up the trading positions left vacant by departing migrants. As traders failed to come forward, stalls have been left empty and prices have increased.

Malyshkov said Wednesday that City Hall was fulfilling all its obligations before the federal authorities regarding the current bans on migrant workers trading in markets, as well the city bylaw passed in October reserving 50 percent of trading places for Russian farmers.

But Malyshkov said he was convinced that "no self-respecting farmer would abandon his cattle for the sake of trading in Moscow's markets."

Only 24 percent of the reserved places have so far been filled up, while the rest have been left empty, Malyshkov said.