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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chinese Officials ‘Accept’ Crackdown on Smuggling

A Chinese delegation that flew to Moscow last week for talks about the closure of Cherkizovsky Market expressed “understanding and approval” of law enforcement’s fight against smuggling, the Investigative Committee said Friday in a statement on its web site.

Ling Ji, deputy director of the Chinese Commerce Ministry’s Europe department, “expressed his satisfaction with the results of the meeting and noted that the work of Russia’s law enforcement agencies to fight contraband and ‘gray’ import schemes earned understanding and approval in the People’s Republic of China,” the statement said.

The Investigative Committee spearheaded the effort to shutter Cherkizovsky, Europe’s biggest retail market. About $2 billion in merchandise has been confiscated since the closure in June, formally over sanitary and fire safety violations.

The move disrupted the businesses of thousands of Chinese businessmen in Moscow and at home and has been widely covered in the media there.

The senior delegation, led by Deputy Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, stressed the countries’ strategic partnership in talks with officials from the Federal Migration Service, Economic Development Ministry and Foreign Ministry, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

Gao said the Chinese traders’ contributions to the Russian economy should be taken into account when deciding how to mitigate the effects of Cherkizovsky’s abrupt closure.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov said Thursday that “accommodating the trade of our friends from China is not our job,” a day after Hucheng said City Hall should do more to find new trading space for those left jobless after the market was closed.