Trade spat risks EU-Russia relations

  • 2013-10-03
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - Lithuania, holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, warned Russia on Oct. 2 that it risks souring ties with the 28-nation bloc over what it termed “politically motivated” customs checks on the Baltic state’s goods, reports AFP. Russia imposed detailed customs inspections on Lithuanian trucks crossing into Russia nearly three weeks ago. The move has brought heavy losses for Lithuania’s trucking industry.

“If such politically motivated actions continue - without providing explanations - it may have a negative effect on EU-Russia ties,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP.

The trade spat comes amid tensions between Russia and the EU over relations with post-Soviet states like Ukraine. On Wednesday, Moscow also warned it may ban Lithuanian dairy imports, citing “sanitary and epidemiological risks.”
Tests on Lithuanian food products had “yielded unsatisfactory results,” Russian chief public health official Gennady Onishchenko told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Lithuania, which was the first republic to break free from the Soviet Union in 1990, hopes to clinch a landmark association and free trade accord with Ukraine during the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit with post-Soviet states in Vilnius this November.

Chief Sanitary Inspector of Russia Gennadiy Grigoryevich Onishchenko highlighted that the large quantity of Lithuanian products could be treated as a risk to the sanitation and epidemiology on Wednesday.