Moldova’s statistics office published on March 19 figures that show a sharp slump in the country’s production of wine and spirits. The principal cause of the decline has been a Russian ban on imports of wine imposed in March 2006. Russia agreed to lift the ban in November 2006, but exporters continue to encounter problems reaching the Russian market. Moreover, Russia has imposed quality controls that mean "conditions for export to Russia will be tougher than those imposed by the EU," Basa Press quoted Andrei Gurin, a senior state inspector, as saying on March 17.
Wine production has also been affected by the introduction of new quality-control restrictions by Moldova, which now requires all exported wine to be bottled. Privately owned wine producers on March 17 called on the government to help ease what they called an "unprecedented crisis" by, among other things, easing such restrictions, Basa reported.