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Moldavian farmers demand EU free trade revision

About 1,000 Moldavian farmers took to the streets with agricultural equipment demanding revision of the recently signed EU free trade agreement for fear of losing the Russian market, the farmers' representative Vyacheslav Valko told ITAR-TASS.

"Freeze of Moldavian fruit export to Russia put on the brink of bankruptcy those producers who cannot reorient supplies to other countries," he said. "They demand that the government holds consultations with Moscow and Brussels to work out optimal terms of cooperation."

Protesters want to see Prime Minister Iurie Leance. Otherwise, they threaten demonstrations in Chisinau.

Two weeks ago, farmers from the town of Otaci blocked the highway connecting the country to Ukraine's Vinnitsya Region. Farmers from three more towns have joined the protests, mostly apple exporters, as Russia accounted for 90% of their export.

In June, Russian veterinary and phytosanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor introduced restrictions on fresh fruit supplies from Moldova for reasons of violation of Russian law on quality and customers' rights. Last week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev cancelled zero import duties on fruit and other goods from Moldova.

According to Russian Ambassador to Moldova, Farit Muhametshin Moldova's association and free trade agreement with the EU contravened its free trade agreement with Russia. Moldavian farmers cannot reorient supplies, as their products do not comply with European quality standards.

[Source: Itar Tass, Chisinau, 05Aug14]

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