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February 29
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We have taken the materials published by Rosselkhoznadzor [the phytosanitary inspection agency of Russia] and are studying them in order to find out to what extent the goods produced by our businessmen are inconsistent with the regulations that Russia applies. Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan told this to reporters at the National Assembly of Armenia Wednesday—and commenting on the current situation at the Upper Lars checkpoint on the Georgian-Russian border.

When asked if he sees any political elements in these processes, the minister said: "I wouldn't say so. It's just strange for us that 35 vehicles [from Armenia] are returned [by Russia] in a whole year, and then another 35 vehicles in [just] two days; this, in the case when the [Armenian] suppliers themselves have not made any changes in the quality of the products.

According to Kerobyan, Armenia has started actions within the framework of EAEU to resolve the issues.

"We have been invited to an urgent consultation, which will take place in the next two days," he said.

To a reporter's question as to whether another export market for Armenia has been created as an alternative to the Russian market, Kerobyan responded: "What does it mean to create an ‘export alternative?’ That is, is it not possible to export that product to Iraq, UAE, etc. today? Any exporter has to negotiate with his buyers and sell his product in various markets. The [Armenian] government helps dozens of exporters to go to the exhibition in China, get new partners there, etc.”

Currently, hundreds of trucks are unable cross into Russia at the Upper Lars border checkpoint with Georgia. These trucks are undergoing strict inspection at the phytosanitary point at this checkpoint. Vahan Hakobyan, the customs attaché of the Armenian embassy in Russia, had said that this problem is not only related to Armenian trucks, and there is strict inspection at all customs checkpoints to enter Russia.

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