Russia open to Dutch flower trade deal

A field of Tulips (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Chris Phutully). (A field of Tulips (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Chris Phutully))

The Russian Food and Consumer Safety Authority is not excluding the possibility that there may be negotiations on the import of Dutch flowers before August has ended. Russia will not negotiate with Dutch growers, exporters or the Dutch government however, but only with those who issue certificates showing that the flowers meet requirements, NOS reports.

Dutch authorities do not issue these so-called phytosanitary certificates. "Perhaps because the phytosanitary situation in the country is not very favorable", according to spokesperson Aleksej Aleksejenko. Russia will discuss the matter with the Czech Republic, Poland and Latvia - these three countries issue these certificates for Dutch flowers. According to the broadcaster, two of these countries have indicated their willingness to talk.

Since last week Monday Dutch flowers have had to go through extra strict checks before being allowed into Russia. According to the country, the flowers from the Netherlands often contain pests that could be harmful to Russian agriculture and economy.

Aleksejenko denied that these stricter checks have anything to do with EU sanctions against Russia or the Netherlands' effort to establish a UN tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the downing of flight MH17, as was previously suggested by Dutch agricultural organization LTO. "That is absolute nonsense. If you look at the history of our relationship in this area, you will see that there have been problems for years. We discussed, negotiated. It has a long history. It has nothing to do with politics or MH17", he said. "We want safe flowers, safe from a phytosanitary view. We do not want new pests introduced into our country."