By Sabina Idayatova
The Georgian Agriculture Ministry predicts an increase in wine export by 20-25 percent with the opening of the Russian market.
"It is supposed to export 7-10 million bottles of wine this year," Georgian Minister of Agriculture David Kirvalidze said at the press conference on Monday.
Russia banned imports of Georgian wines and two popular brands of mineral water in 2006, citing poor quality of the products, in a move widely condemned in Georgia.
Following October 1 parliamentary elections, the new Georgian government started talks with Russia to get Georgian product back to the Russian market. After the negotiations, both sides stated that the embargo on the Georgian products could be lifted in spring. This process is in progress now.
According to Kirvalidze, as a result of two inspections of the Russian consumer watchdog-Rospotrebnadzor, 65 wine companies and two mineral water producing companies received positive estimates.
Meanwhile, the Georgian Borjomi mineral water received a state registration certificate in Russia and the Russian branch of the company - IDS Borjomi International - will conduct deliverlies. The General Director of IDS Borjomi Georgia Zaza Kikvadze expressed his satisfaction with the returning to the Russian market, considering it as a promising one.
Kirvalidze further said that according to the data for today, seven Georgian companies have already registered the production in the Russian sanitary service, and this process continues. "The export of the first party will already be possible in the near future."
At the same time Kirvalidze noted that the negotiations held in Moscow on April 1 on the export of Georgian agricultural production in Russia were successfull.
"An agreement in principle has already been reached. Both Georgian and Russian experts continue to work over technical regulations. This process will soon come to the end, and step by step the Georgian fruit and vegetables will be entered the Russian market," Kirvalidze stressed.
Kirvalidze earlier said that the exports of the Georgian agricultural products to the Russian market would be implemented in phases.
The first phase of the inspection by Rospotrebnadzor took place in Georgia from February 25 to March 1. According to the results, 36 alcohol companies and four manufacturers of mineral water were able to register their products for sale in Russia.
The second phase of inspection was held on Apr. 2-5 when the Rospotrebnadzor experts checked the rest 35 companies willing to export to Russia.
Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia after their August 2008 war over the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia lost one-fifth of its territory after the two republics broke away. Georgia announced the two unrecognized republics as occupied territories in September 2008.
Till the end of 2005 economic relations between Georgia and Russia were developing sufficiently actively, the turnover was on the rise, the intergovernmental economic commission was functioning. However, the actions undertaken by the Russian side first deterred the rate of development, then practically brought the level of economic co-operation down to minimum.
The capacity of Russian investments in Georgia in 2009 comes to amount of 10 253.4 Million US Dollars, and for second quarter of 2010 - 17 603.5 Million US Dollars.
The normalization of the previous bilateral relations between two states is not far off, however warming between neighbors mostly depends on the compromise that seems will take time from both sides. Herewith, Georgia is ready to restore relations, except the means of its territorial integrity, however, Russia is expecting conclusive and definitive position toward Russia.