BUCHAREST, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Russia may exempt customs duties on vegetables and fruits, as well as wine imported from Moldova from next year, announced the Moldovan presidential press service on Thursday.
According to the release, Moldovan President Igor Dodon, who started Wednesday a two-day visit to Russia, had agreed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to take joint concrete measures to increase the export of Moldovan goods to the Russian market, including the removal, starting from Jan. 1, 2019, of the customs duties on the export to Russia of fresh or canned vegetables and fruits, as well as wine products.
Moscow imposed an embargo on Moldovan wines in September 2013 and further announced tariffs on up to 19 categories of goods from Moldova, including meat, cereals, sugar, fruits, vegetables and furniture, two months after Moldova, governed by a pro-Western government, had ratified the Association Agreement with the European Union in July 2014.
National statistics cited by official Moldpres news agency showed that Moldova's export to Russia dropped dramatically in recent years, from 423 million U.S. dollars in 2014 to 254 million dollars in 2017.
Dodon, who won the elections and became head of state in December 2016, is widely regarded as a pro-Moscow president in the small country divided between pro-Western and Moscow-backed factions. He had so far no less than six bilateral meetings with his Russian counterpart, according to local media.
The local media believed that Putin's statement is undoubtedly an important support for Dodon, some three months before the parliamentary elections in February next year in Moldova.
According to the release of the presidential press service, Dodon and Putin also agreed in their meeting in Moscow that 2019 will be declared the Year of the Republic of Moldova in the Russian Federation, while 2020 the Year of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Moldova.