Belarus may join Russia’s ban on imports of fruits and vegetables from Poland

Rosselkhoznadzor claimed that Polish products were found to have been infested with larvae of pests such as the western flower thrip.

Russia’s Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) will ask the appropriate Belarusian authorities to ban imports of fruits and vegetables from Poland, according to Rosselkhoznadzor spokesman Aleksei Alekseyenko.

On July 30, Rosselkhoznadzor announced that it was imposing a temporary ban on imports of apples, pears, apricots, peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, all kinds of cabbages and a number of other vegetables from Poland.

Rosselkhoznadzor claimed that Polish products were found to have been infested with larvae of pests such as the western flower thrip (Frankliniella occidentalis) and the oriental fruit moth (Grapholita molesta).

“Since we form a common customs area, we are facing the same risks,” Mr. Alekseyenko said, according to Russian news agencies. “We can expect that Polish businesspeople will try to supply such goods through third countries under the guise of local products.”

Poland authorities have described Russia’s ban as a politically motivated move in retaliation to the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russian officials, companies and organizations over their role in the Ukraine crisis.

The Polish agriculture ministry has asked the European Commission to consider compensation for Poland’s losses because Russia was the largest market for Polish fruits and vegetables.

Polish Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski has said that the Russian ban is expected to cost the country about 0.6 percent of GDP this year.

Poland is also the largest exporter of fruits and vegetables to Belarus. According to Belarus’ National Statistical Committee, in the first five months of 2014, Poland supplied Belarus with a total of 190,400 metric tons of apples, pears and quinces, 66.6 percent more than in the same period the previous year. Poland accounted for 75.1 percent of the total volume of apples, pears, and quinces imported in the first five months of the year.