MEPs back freeing wine trade with Moldova to offset Russian trade sanctions
The EU will soon be importing wine from Moldova duty free, thanks to a proposal, backed by MEPs on Tuesday, to help offset losses to Moldova due to Russia’s recent ban on imports of Moldovan wines. The EU-Moldova Association Agreement, initialled at the 29 November Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) provides for measures to establish an EU-Moldova free trade area.
“Today’s vote sends a strong signal of political support for Moldova’s European choice. The immediate liberalization of imports of Moldovan wines to the EU shows our political will to respond to unjustified and arbitrary pressures exerted by Russia on its Eastern partners. The measures backed today will help Moldovan wine producers to overcome the difficult situation caused by the Russian ban. Close cooperation between the EU institutions fast-tracked the EU’s response”, said rapporteur on trade with Moldova Iuliu Winkler (EPP, RO), after the plenary approved the decision by 503 votes to, 14, with 17 abstentions.
MEPs amended the initial proposal to ensure the measures can enter into force from 1 January 2014.
Russia banned imports of Moldova’s wines and spirits in September this year, citing quality concerns. However, the ban is widely believed to be politically motivated, and intended to discourage Moldova from strengthening its political and economic ties with the EU.
EU-Moldova free trade deal
The EU-Moldova Association Agreement, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area, was initialled at the 29 November Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius (Lithuania). The free trade area agreement provides for full liberalization of trade with Moldova in wines. However, due to the procedures needed to finalize it, it will only apply from the start of 2015.