Dutch official in Moscow over vegetable ban

7th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Dutch Agriculture State Secretary Hans Bleker is to meet his Russian counterpart Wednesday to discuss a Russian ban on Dutch vegetables after a deadly bacterial outbreak, a spokesman said Tuesday.

"The State Secretary will look at what possibilities exist for the resumption of the import of Dutch vegetables (to Russia)," the Dutch Agriculture department said in a statement.

Bleker is to travel to Moscow to meet Russian Agricultural Minister Elena Skrynnik and was also planning to visit a Russian vegetable and fruit market to view the impact of the Russian ban on European fruit, it said.

Apart from Germany, Russia was The Netherlands' main export client with some 150 million euros (219 million US dollars) in annual vegetable exports, Dutch Agricultural Ministry spokesman Murco Mijnlief said.

Russia, which has banned all EU vegetable exports amid the killer E. coli outbreak, said in Brussels on Tuesday the best it could offer was to relax restrictions state-by-state upon production of individual safety guarantees.

Bleker on Saturday called the Russian ban an unforeseen decision, and hinted he might travel to Moscow to discuss the situation.

© 2011 AFP

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