Russia to restrict alcohol imports

Russia has adopted tough measures to restrict alcohol imports to the Russian market and to create fair competition, Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev told journalists on Friday.

When speaking about food imports in general, he pointed out that the government had set up an inter-departmental working group that was working out a new customs-tariff policy on food imports.

The working group is using the European Union's experience as a basis, he said. The quotas on meat and dairy imports were not directly connected with the EU decision to introduce quotas on corn imports to European countries, according to Gordeyev.

"We need a system that would respond to the situation on food markets. If the government finds a solution, the quotas system may be implemented already in 2003," the minister announced.

The quotas can be easily calculated, proceeding from the volume of product consumption, he pointed out. For example, on the poultry market, Russia should try to achieve an 80% share of domestic supplies to the market, Gordeyev explained. At present domestic producers' share on this market does not exceed 45 per cent, he added.

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