Round table discussion at the Federation Council office 19.04.2012: “Current State and Development Prospects of Brewing Industry of the Customs Union Countries” (2012-04-23)

The participants of the round table “Current State and Development Prospects of Brewing Industry of the Customs Union Countries” have discussed the current state of brewing industry in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and reviewed the drafting and potential consequences of the adoption of the Customs Union Technical regulation.

Opening the meeting the First Deputy Chairman of the Council Alexander Torshin noticed that “in such complicated thing as harmonization of interstate and inter-sector interests it is hard to find solutions acceptable to all”. “Naturally it concerns the brewing industry as well,” he continued, “in particular, such challenging issues as PET packaging and the use of recycled packaging.” According to him, everyone has his own point of view on these issues and there is not any common opinion.

The legislator reminded that currently a draft technical regulation “On safety of alcohol products” is in the process of inner state reconciliation. The Federation Council is receiving numerous observations and suggestions from producers, scientists and experts that should be considered and taken into account when finalizing the document.

As Alexander Torshin noticed, the round table discussion shows that the Customs Union is no longer an abstraction, but a tangible and working mechanism. “The Customs Union must now move from the political to the economic category, and be engaged with the everyday work to search the balance of interests, development and alignment of the legislation of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia,” the senator said. “By participation in the development of the regulatory framework of the Customs Union, the Federation Council is to hold a series of “round tables” and workshops on key themes of economic development in the common space. Brewers are pioneers in this regard; they put into practice the process of harmonization of laws and regulations.”

The senator is convinced that the discussion of urgent problems of legal and technical regulations will be an important step in the production of safe products; recommendations of the “round table” will contribute to the development of the brewing industry in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as well.

In his turn, the Deputy Head of the Federal Alcohol Market Regulatory Service Vladislav Spirin said that over the past 1,5 years five international negotiations were held and more than 500 observations and suggestions were taken into account during the preparation of the technical regulation “On safety of alcohol products”. Today, in his opinion, the greatest disagreements are with the Belarus party.

“However,” continued V. Spirin, “we have agreed with our colleagues from Belarus and Kazakhstan to start the interstate coordination.” “We need the official position,” he said. “Solution of the existing disagreements should be raised to a higher level of negotiations.” Deputy Head of the Federal Service also reported that after coordination with the government the time of preparation and adoption of the technical regulation was postponed to July 2012.

The Belarusian party insists on development of a separate technical regulation for brewing products. As the Executive Director of the Brewers Guild of Belarus Vladislav Skrebtsov stated, “the current draft technical regulation on safety of alcohol products causes serious contradictions among the representatives of the brewing industry of the three countries”. Belarusian brewers offer to take a technical regulation previously developed in Russia, which passed the first reading in the Duma in 2010, as a basis of a new and separate technical regulation on brewing products. According to V.Skrebtsov, this document takes into account the specificity of the brewing industry and reflects modern trends of development of the global brewing industry.

For his part, the president of the Union of Brewers of Kazakhstan Beksultan Meirbekov pointed out that they also have a number of questions on the draft technical regulation, which should be refined on the basis of expert opinion of Kazakhstan industry representatives. Particularly, B. Meirbekov expressed his opinion on an inexpedience to set such issues as the prohibition of PET packaging and notification procedures to the supranational level.

Among the main problems concerning the Customs Union technical regulation on safety of alcohol products the greatest criticism for the part of experts and business community representatives is caused by the given definition of beer, non-compliance with WTO rules, the notification procedure for market participants of the Customs Union, the restriction on the use of unmalted raw materials, as well as the creation of non-competitive environment for manufacturers of different types of packaging, in particular, the prohibition of PET.

The round table was attended by the Head of the Department for Technical Regulation and Accreditation of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Vasiliy Boitsov, the Deputy Chief – the Head of the Department of Authorities Violations Investigation of the Service for the Authorities Control of the FAS RF Andrei Kuznetsov, the Director of the Research and Production Republican Unitary Enterprise “Belarusian State Institute of Standardization and Certification” Valeriy Gurevich, the Assistant Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Agrarian and Food Policy and Environmental Management as well as the president of the Barley and Malt Union Alexander Mordovin.

(from materials of the Press Office of the Federation Council)


Round table discussion at the Federation Council office 19.04.2012

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