Russia to slap duties on imports from Moldova

MOSCOW Fri Aug 1, 2014 6:22am EDT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday it will impose import duties on products from Moldova, its latest move to limit trade with the former Soviet republic which signed a free-trade deal with the European Union in June.

Moscow has put curbs on trade with some other countries that have attempted to move out of its orbit, including Ukraine, and said on Monday it may restrict all or some EU fruit imports, which come mainly from eastern Europe.

EU countries and the United States have tightened sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis after a Malaysian airliner was brought down over territory held by pro-Russian rebels on July 18, killing all 298 people on board.

Russia is currently Moldova's third-largest export market after the European Union and Ukraine.

In a statement on Friday, the Russian government said import duties at Most Favoured Nation rates will be introduced for Moldova starting from Aug. 30, covering 19 products such as meat, vegetables, sugar and wine.

Under the regime, Russia applies basic import duties to products from countries that are not members of its free trade zone and do not enjoy any other preferences. Moldova currently supplies products to Russia with a zero duty, according to their free trade agreement.

The move follows Russia's decision to suspend imports of fruit and limit meat imports from Moldova after the country of 3.5 million - one of Europe's poorest states - signed the free-trade and political cooperation agreement with the EU.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Maria Kiselyova and Catherine Evans)

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